• Youth Ministry

    Burn, Baby, Burn

    We finished our second day at the beach but we weren’t out very much.  Most of us (okay – all of us) are burnt – some worse than others.  We, Missourians, are not  prepared for the beach sun.  Which is a shame because today was a gorgeous day outside!   Rick and Theresa (the other two sponsors) were up around 8 am and headed out for some morning adventures.  Rick hit the nearby golf course and Theresa checked out some local antique shops. I got up about and hour or so later and worked for little while before the seniors stirred.  Most just chilled inside or did sporadic trips outside. The group went into Gulf Shores in the afternoon to do some souvenir shopping and to eat out.  I stayed back at the beach house to get some work done.  I leave as soon as I get home for Kenya and a week after I return from Kenya, I head…

  • Youth Ministry

    Office for the Week

    Today is the first day on the wonderful beach for our senior trip.  I left with two other adults and six seniors Monday morning at 12:30 am and we arrived in Gulf Shores at 3 pm on Monday. Great drive down and now we are enjoying the relaxing beach house.  The seniors love it here and are a great group!  We do miss our three soccer girls that weren’t able to come because they are just too good at soccer and won their district soccer game.  We wish them the best for tonight’s game in Jefferson City!  Go support them if you are in town. We had a great pasta dinner last night and I think everyone was in bed by 11 pm.  Tired from the first day’s drive.  Today we’ve been sunning and funning.  The girls have been laying out all day and the guys went to town and bought skim boards.  Its been pretty hilarious watching them learn…

  • Youth Ministry

    Shift – Day Two

    The second day of  the Shift conference consists of three break-out sessions followed with a large group worship and teaching tonight.  I’m signed up for three break-outs and decided last night to skip the first one today.  Mike Yanconelli gave me permission. Several years ago at Youth Specialties’ National Youth Workers Convention,  Mike greeted us the very first day.  In Mike’s unique way, he told us that we had permission to make the conference what we needed it to be.  If that meant not attending a single thing, then don’t.  If we needed refreshing time alone, stay away.  (As an introvert, I really appreciated that.) If you needed to work on your marriage, stay in the hotel room. (As a single, I was envious.)   He then introduced a guy and brought him up on stage.  The youth minister shared the story of how he attended the National Youth Worker’s Convention the year before and how his marriage was strained under…

  • Faith Reflections,  Youth Ministry

    Shift

    I’m in Chicago for the week attending the Shift conference at Willow Creek Community Church.  My first time at Shift and at Willow Creek.  I’ve wanted to visit the campus for quite awhile and I must say it is impressive. It is huge and overwhelming but they have a lot of friendly, helpful volunteers around.  Nothing but great help so far.  You just have to ask. Flew in yesterday evening.  Driving a Toyota Yaris.  Good way to narrow down what type of car I might want.  I definitely don’t like the tiny, compact car.  Especially after 13 years in my jeep.  Check. Opening conference featured Francis Chan speaking on complacency.  He was outstanding and it was definitely what I was needing.  One of the reasons I chose this youth ministry conference over others was the sense I picked up from their speakers and breakout sessions that they were really focusing on the need for spiritual transformation in leaders and youth. …

  • Youth Ministry

    New Band: Highland Fall

    If you want to be among the first to hear about an awesome new band, then you need to check out the band Highland Fall.  They had their first ever CD release party on Friday.  You can purchase their cd, Those Crazy Northern Lights, on iTunes and Amazon.  Click on the link below to go to their myspace.  They have an awesome sound – and I’m just not saying that because I’m their youth pastor. I’m beyond proud of them.

  • Youth Ministry

    Getting Schooled By My Youth

    The youth in my youth group teach me a lot of things.  There are the very useful things like how to master the Wii, how to have fun, how to fart on demand (okay, I already had that mastered.)  They remind me that you can make a difference and that it is never to late to start. They remind me to relax and that to be present in some one’s life is more important than designing a stellar program or event. They teach me that selfishness is pervasive and that I once was as awkward and self-conscious as they are and I would be wise to not forget it. They frustrate me a lot, too.  I can’t count how many times we have a really great discussion or retreat and then in the next breath my youth are treating each other like no class citizens.  I love social networking until I read the passive-aggressive status that “wish a certain someone would just get over herself” or “hate…

  • Youth Ministry

    C-Group Aroma

    Two weeks ago the weekly high school small group (we call them c-groups) that meets in my home multiplied into two groups.  We had 12-14 kids coming consistently and it was too large for a small group.  Not everyone could be heard. It was difficult to get through a lesson, etc.  We had talked for quite awhile that we would need to multiply one day when our group was large enough and strong enough.  And the day came.  We planted a new c-group on Monday nights with two youth stepping up to co-lead it.  It is so awesome!  I love to see that happen even when I’m sad about not seeing certain kids every week at my house. But it is a good thing because more youth will be reached this way. As a result, last night I had my first c-group at my house that was all guys.  Me and five guys.  We played Wii for awhile than got to…

  • Youth Ministry

    We are family … not.

    I’ve been polling my youth anonymously about the state of our youth ministry.  (Thanks to Survey Monkey for free surveys.) I want us to do some honest evaluation over the summer as we think about the next year in youth ministry.  I’ve been here 8 and a half years and that makes it easy to get in a rut.  The responses have been coming in ever so slowly.  They’ve been mostly positive in a healthy way.  Translation: not overly gussy where I’m skeptical that they are trying not to make me feel bad but practical and balanced. I’m pretty pleased with the maturity of their responses and not surprised by most of them.  It seems that we have struck the rigth balance on activities and events, that we have caring adults, and that the kids feel like they grow from the constant service activities we do. There is one very clear theme, however, through all of the survey responses:  we…

  • Youth Ministry

    DNow or Never

    Last weekend was our youth DiscipleNow weekend.  It is one of our big events of the year and one of the reasons I haven’t blogged recently.  It has been pretty busy leading up to the weekend as we get all the details and assignments worked out.  At DNow, youth stay in homes of church members for the weekend and have small group Bible studies along with larger group worship, service projects and fun activities.  We had 58 youth participate and it was a great weekend.  We had our awesome DNOW band back with us – No Longer Quiet and some great small group leaders. Our theme was "Becoming" and is published by Student Life. It was a really great study and the student books were great!  We volunteered on Saturday at the Samaritan Center – our local food pantry.  It was the Boy Scouts Annual Food Drive and helped to sort the food and box it up.  It is a…

  • Youth Ministry

    30 Hour Famine Countdown

    We are in the final countdown to our 30-Hour Famine weekend at Refuge. I have 37 youth signed up for the Friday – Saturday event where we fast for 30 hours to raise money and awareness regarding world hunger.  I did an interview today with a reporter from our local newspaper.  They are featuring the story for this Friday’s Religious Section.  Hopefully, it will encourage others to host a similar event at their churches and to check out World Vision to learn about their wonderful ministries around the world.  We did this last year and the kids did a great job. Young people are natural activist.  The challenge is to help them connect it to their faith rather than a feel-good band wagon movement. I’ve been reading some follow-up articles from the New Baptist Covenant gathering as people get home and continue to process all that they heard and experienced in Atlanta.  The challenge has been put to all of…