Category Archives: Student and College Ministries

Youth Adult Same-Sex Attraction: Resources For Presenting A Biblical Perspective In A Culture Of Tolerance


The pressure on youth and young adults today to conform to a distorted message on sex is nothing short of overwhelming. Our culture, media, internet and peer influence all contribute daily to this distortion. Teens and young adults in the church are becoming ensnared in sexual struggles and sin at virtually identical numbers as those outside of the church.

Unfortunately, many youth groups and college/young adult ministries are largely silent on this issue. Meanwhile, many are swept away from faith and church in the wake of unbiblical influences. Ministry leaders, parents and volunteer leaders often don’t know what to say. And students who want to follow Jesus and God’s design for sexuality are increasingly confused by misinformation and distortions.

Student and College Ministries seeks to enter this conversation, equip leaders/parents and provide resources to those who love a generation bombarded by the message that any form of sexual expression is acceptable.

In our search for reliable resources Student and College Ministries came across Harvest USA ministry. They are making an impact by coming alongside the local church. Harvest began as an outreach ministry to the homosexual community located near their PCA church. Today it serves numerous churches by equipping and resourcing people to step into the lives of individuals and families affected by all kinds of sexual struggles.

Some of the resources available through Harvest USA include:

  • Seminars and workshops for youth leaders, youth and/or parents
  • Harvest News – God Gives the Best Sex: A Positive Theology of Sex & Sexuality
  • Books and Sunday School series

The Harvest book series entitle “Proclaiming the Truth & Mercy” is an excellent place to start. Each book in the series is a compilation of chapters authored by different individuals writing from their personal experiences. Harvest will be adding to the series in the coming months. The series covers the following topics:

Book One – The Homosexual Debate and the Church. This book provides insights into the controversy surrounding gay-theology and cultural issues.

Book Two – First Steps of Compassion. A great book for anyone coming alongside those who struggle with same sex attraction. The book includes a section on ways to afford comfort to hurting parents.

Book Three – Gay…Such Were Some of Us. A compilation of personal stories where lives were transformed and changed.

Another excellent resource is the EPC Position Paper on Homosexuality which addresses the issue from a biblical perspective. Student Ministries welcomes additional resource suggestions, please contact Susan Holland at with your ideas, comments or questions.

See below for links to suggested resources.

Helpful Links:

  1. Seminars and workshops –
  2. Harvest News – God Gives the Best Sex: A Positive Theology of Sex & Sexuality
  3. Books and Sunday School series –
  4. Proclaiming the Truth & Mercy Series –

Student Ministries: Online Book Study – Starting May 1, 2013

  • Student and College Ministry Youth Workers will be reading 2 books by Mark Oestreicher, Youth Ministry 3.0: A Manifesto of Where We’ve Been, Where We Are and Where We Need to Go and A Beautiful Mess: What’s Right About Youth Ministry.
  • Discuss the history of youth ministry and the three significant shifts in youth culture. Having laid this foundation. consider the realities and needs of today’s teens. Then, explore creative and effective ways to minister to students moving forward, including how to apply these ideas to your particular ministry.
  • It is exciting that Marko, the author, has offered to join the study – so come ready to get his input and insights about his books and your ministry!!
  • Marko was at Youth Specialties in San Diego, an organization that trains and equips church youth workers, for 11 years, 8 years as president. He grew up as an EPC kid, at Ward EPC in the Detroit, MI area. Marko has a long-standing affection and appreciation for the EPC, and is very excited about connecting with EPC youth workers in this book study.
  • The reading assignments are fairly short (about 20-30 pages per week), so everyone can focus on discussion, getting input from Marko and sharing ideas. It is known that many of you have summer trips to plan, so no worries, that is taken into consideration.
  • If you’ve already read the book(s), join everyone for the discussion and practical application.
  • The study begins on May 1st and last 6 weeks; however, you may join the online group anytime and work at your own pace.
  • The cost is FREE – you just need to purchase or borrow the books.
  • Jump on the EPC Community site to check out more details, meet other EPC Youth Leaders and get some quality continuing education in the comfort of your favorite lounge chair.

Here’s how to Join the Online Study:

  1. Go to http://www.epc.socialgo.comand – become a Member of EPC Community
  2. Click on “Not a Member? Sign up Now”
  3. When prompted for an Access Code use: EPC1981
  4. Complete Registration Page by filling in your personal information
  5. When completed click on “Sign Up” link
  6. A confirmation email will be sent to you – Click the link, you will be logged in.
  7. Go to the Group link and Join our YOUTH MINISTRY 3.0 BOOK STUDY group
    (Note: Click on the New Groups link to easily find our Group).

For More Information: Please contact Susan Holland, Student and College Ministries Coordinator, at (734) 838‐6952.

Invitation to Join Student and College Ministries Online


Student and College Ministries would like to extend an invitation to all EPC youth workers and college ministry leaders to join one or more of our online networks. Many of you already participate, but perhaps there are additional networks that could also benefit your ministry. Welcome to those of you who are new to the EPC – we are excited to connect with you and find out more about your ministry.

Anyone interested in reaching the next generation for Christ is welcome – full-time, part-time, staff, volunteers, interns, pastors, parents and elders alike. Our goals are to connect EPC ministry leaders, encourage one another, exchange ideas and share resources.

Youth Leader Cohort: A Testimony of its Tremendous Impact on an EPC Youth Leader


The powerful testimony of Mikey Pitts, Director of Middle School Ministries at Bay Presbyterian Church (Bay Village, OH) was one of the factors that convinced EPC Student Ministries of the importance of this new “Coaching in Community” approach for the long term fruitfulness of youth ministries in our churches and the retention of solid leaders.

Overall Impression:
“I have been significantly blessed, empowered, and encouraged in all areas through my participation Had it not been for my involvement in this cohort I was on a fast track for burnout and discontentment making me just another statistic.”

What was your ministry experience, including why you joined the Cohort initially?

I have been serving 5 years at Bay Presbyterian Church in Bay Village, OH. We’re a congregation of about 2,200 and we recently joined the EPC.

In 2003, I purchased my first youth ministry resource, which was a book of talk outlines by Mark Oestreicher. Marko’s book saved my hide that first year of youth.

I initially joined the cohort because it was a chance to study youth ministry under Marko. I was also at a pivotal place in ministry where my wife and I were praying through if it was time to put the resume out there. To my surprise my proposal to attend the Cohort was approved and financed by our congregation. My wife and I really felt like it was God giving us a second wind at BPC.

What have you learned about yourself and ministry in the Cohort?

Marko is all about healthy personal development both spiritually and emotionally. I have learned a lot about myself that frankly, I would have had a hard time receiving in other environments. These issues and insecurities were creating problems in my ministry and with my church staff relationships. These same problems are what cause us (youth workers) to jump from church to church.

Marko emphasizes values based ministry in a world that revolves around an attractional shallow youth ministry. I learned that I had been trying to keep up with the Joneses, and had been designing a ministry for a community, culture, and set of students I didn’t have. So for the past several months, and Marko’s encouragement, I as well as my other cohorts have taken up ministry values discernment teams. It’s amazing how God is honoring and speaking into our direction and how it is lining up with our churches values.

How has the Cohort helped you grow personally and professionally?

Personally, I am more self-aware of my strengths and weaknesses. I can honestly say that this cohort has strengthened my marriage as I have learned the gift of presence and listening.

Professionally, I am more self-aware of my strengths and my weaknesses. I am beginning to lead from my values that are translating into significant ministerial health and growth. These days I am less attracted to the hype and pop of flashy student ministries that trap so many youth workers.

My Senior Pastor told me that he wished he had learned what
I am learning when he was my age.

How has your participation in the Cohort affected/benefitted your youth?

I have been exploring teaching techniques and styles that are developmentally appropriate for 5-8th grade students. My students come back remembering the faith concept/story piece we discussed the week before.

We spent some significant time discussing context culture; Every event, environment, ministry night of the week, and/or time frame now accent the flow of our community.

One of the big problems in ministry is knowing when and how to introduce change both personally and professionally. I now take time to really figure out how to walk my leaders and parents through the significant program changes.

Lastly, I have learned how to relinquish my perfectionist control of the ministry. Now we are seeing what God is doing and not how well I can plan and coordinate.

What are your final thoughts?

In closing, the thing that still blows me away to this day is how accessible Marko is to us. He genuinely cares for us as individuals and the ministries that we lead. The other youth workers in my cohort have become family and will be lifelong kingdom partners.

I think the EPC would see significant fruit in its churches if youth workers got the chance to experience the personal growth of a Coaching Program Cohort.

Click here to read the full interview with Mikey.

For More Information:
Please contact Susan Holland, Student and College Ministries Coordinator, at or (734) 838‐6952 by our early-bird date of February 7,th, 2013.

Making an inquiry or signing up by the early bird date will allow you to participate in the decision-making process concerning the timing and locations of the 6 meetings, during this one-year program.

For more details regarding the EPC Youth Leader Cohorts, please go to the following webpage:

Urbana 12: Intervarsity’s Student Missions Conference


St. Louis, Missouri (December 27-31, 2012)

Urbana is a mission’s conference with a compelling message to this generation to “give their whole lives for God’s global mission.”

Urbana 12 is fast approaching and College Ministries is excited to already have 15 Scholarship Applications from EPC college students and young adults with a heart for missions, hoping to attend the conference this December. We also have over 100 students and young adults, from EPC churches, registered to attend the EPC World Outreach missions luncheon at Urbana.

Urbana Scholarships are based on financial need and affiliation with an EPC church.  The deadline for applications is December 15 and we anticipate that we will receive several more requests from applicants for the $100 scholarships before that time.

College Ministries hopes to assist EVERY approved applicant, needing financial assistance to attend Urbana 12.  Additional donatins from churches and individuals are immediately needed, in order to meet this goal.

If you or your church are able to contribute towards the Urbana Scholarship Fund please:
1) Go to;
2) Click the “Donate Today” button;
3) Select “Student and College Ministries”; and
4) Select “Urbana Scholarships.”

If you know of a college student or young adult (aged 17-29) with a heart for missions, direct them to our webpage for more information.

EPC World Outreach at Urbana12!

Free Lunch: So far over 100 students and young adults, from EPC churches, have registered to attend the free EPC World Outreach missions luncheon on Saturday, December 29th.  Please contact Alison Gill at or call 734-838-6945 to register for the free lunch or to ask for more information.

Exhibit Hall: World Outreach will also be present at the conference in the Exhibit Hall where mission organizations from all over the world will be showcasing various opportunities.  WO staff will be available to connect with students, young adults and youth leaders about opportunities within the EPC.

Urbana 12


Intervarsity’s Student Missions Conference,
St. Louis, Missouri (December 27-31, 2012)

The stated goal of the 2012 Urbana Conference is to “compel this generation to give their whole lives for God’s global mission.”  Many generations of today’s missionaries and church leaders point to their time at Urbana as pivotal in their decision to serve in full or part-time ministry.

Urbana is only held every three years and the excitement is building for Urbana 2012.  At the last Urbana (2009), the EPC was blessed to have about 120 college-aged and young adults in attendance.

College Ministries (CM) and World Outreach (WO) are working together to spread the word to our young adults (age 17-29) by reaching out to every EPC church and it’s leaders to encourage them to connect with college students, those home and away at school, and other young adults in their congregations.

While at Urbana, young adults will find unique opportunities to discern how God may be leading them, connect with others asking the same question, hear challenging calls to action, and speak with some of the hundreds of attending missionaries.  WO is sending a team to Urbana and will host a special meal for EPC college students and young adults to connect and find out more about WO missions opportunities and Engage 2025.

Furthermore, we have set up a fund allowing us to scholarship several students who need some financial assistance in order to attend.  We are also looking for donors to assist EPC students attend this potentially life-changing event.