About First Priority
I'm new to First Priority and here is a little information I've found out about it: First Priority works in your community as a strategic partnership of churches, ministers, business people, educators, parents, and students who are concerned about the moral and spiritual well being of teenagers. In short, First Priority is us, the people of God uniting together to make a positive impact in the lives of this generation.
The Hope of Christ in Every Student
Uniting the Local Body of Christ With a Plan of Action to Influence the School with the Gospel.
First Priority works if the local community takes the time to organize each component of the strategy. To explain this, we will compare life as a Christian in the U.S. to a football player playing his game. What if you asked the football player to come study the team playbook twice a week, but only planned to play in a game for one week in the summer… maybe… if band camp didn’t get in the way? Would he ever show up to practice? Yet, that is what most local churches expect out of students in their youth ministry: to come twice a week to learn how to live for Christ and then once a year we will go and share Christ together on a mission trip. First Priority is the gameplan for the students in your community to come together at school and live the game of faith at school everyday.
In the First Priority “Game”, there are five participants in four networks that make it work. Each participant has its specific role, neither is more important than the other, each is significantly important to the function of the other. There is a network at the school made up of students (players) and teachers (referee). A network of parents (fans) surrounding each school. A network of churches (coaches) surrounding the targeted schools. A network of business leaders (team owners) surrounding the entire community. If all participants are functioning then you are on your way to seeing students influenced for Christ for years to come. If any of these participants are missing or lacking, like a football team, the FP strategy will not perform to its full potential.
The students are on the greatest mission field in America: a school. Engaged in the middle of ‘the game’, students are the players that we are here to train, pray for, and support just as we do for our foreign missionaries. The F.I.S.H. Guide (FPOA Phase 3 resource) gives the students missionaries action steps and direction they need to reach out to their peers at school. Each month it helps them focus on a group and share the message of Jesus Christ with unbelieving students.
These are the faculty volunteers that open their room and the doors of the school for the club to hold their meetings. At the school, they are the people who help the players stay in line with the rules of the local district and state. At the Monthly leadership meeting, they are the ones guiding and showing wisdom to navigate the school as only someone on the ‘inside’ can do. They do not participate in the game even though they are right in the middle of it.
These are the Youth Ministers and Pastors who are training and equipping the students in the game. Coaches do basically two things: 1- They help schedule ‘games’ via the F.I.S.H. Guide. 2- They hold practices and study the playbook (Bible) on Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights. Look at it this way, we are going to schedule a game i.e. Mission trip nine months or more out of the year, at school. Can you think of a better place to have a mission trip and more exciting thing to train students for?
These are adults who are watching and cheering on the game. Up front, these parents are dedicated to praying and supporting the students as they work to minister to their campus. Behind the scenes, these parents are waking their son/daughter up early for practice, rearranging schedules, encouraging when the ‘game’ doesn’t go well, and running the booster club. Putting fan in the stands is really an easy task when their kid is passionate about playing in the game. Many parents are asking how they can be involved in impacting their student’s school.
BUSINESS AND COMMUNITY LEADERS
The business community is so important to the First Priority strategy. Like a professional team, coaches and players come and go but the team lives on. Without business leaders involved in the FP strategy, the longevity of the ministry will diminish when students graduate or staff in our local church move on. The business community has a vested interest in their community and they will be the ones that will be there through this entire generation. Of all the cities that have a successful First Priority they all have a board of committed business leaders.
I hope this helps you guys understand First Priority a little better. More to come later...I'm hoping to maybe be able to do some new things with this organization this year!