• Youth Ministry

    Kristen in Uganda

    One of my former youth, Kristen Vogel, is working in Uganda for the next two years as part of the Halo Foundation.  Kristen has committed two years to serving as an International HALO Ambassador, and moved to Uganda in September 2007. She is directing HALO programs in three orphanages in Kenya, three programs in Uganda, and one orphanage in India. She is also expanding HALO’s scope by accessing needs of additional orphans and developing project proposals for HALO’s future. Kristen will also oversee construction of our HALO House Orphanage in Uganda. If you have a chance to check out the Halo Foundation or Kristen’s blog, do so.  There is amazing work going on all around the world and I’m challenged by Kristen’s choice to serve.

  • Youth Ministry

    For My Girls

    Dove has been doing some amazing things with their Real Beauty campaign.  I’ve been quite impressed with the campaign to show the beauty of real women over the last couple of years.  Women do come in all shapes and sizes and America has a completely unhealthy addiction to physical "beauty".  Ironically, what many Americans describe as beautiful is not what most of the world defines as beautiful. This new video from Dove is beyond words.  It is powerful, heart-breaking, gut-wrenching and sickenly revealing about the destruction and damage done to our young girls. Women – we should know better!! And we should do all we can to fight our young girls having to endure this same torture.  My niece is 3 months old.  I grieve the day that is coming when someone or some ad or some song robs her of her innocence and tells her she isn’t beautiful. I will do everything I can to fight that day. Everyone…

  • Youth Ministry

    Youth Ministry Read

    I’m reading a great book right now entitled Contemplative Youth Ministry by Mark Yaconelli, son of youth ministry guru, Mike Yaconelli.  It is amazing!  In fact, I read about two-thirds of the book this evening which is evidence of how good it is and also evidence that I am not taking the necessary time to really engage the text which is a shame.  I am going to have to slow down and journey through it again. It is a must read for anyone that works with youth – minister or volunteer, paid or unpaid. I’d been happy to loan my copy if it will allow you to read it. For a great review of the book (which has been out in the US for over a year), click here to read it on Jonny Baker’s blog. I really resonate with what Yaconelli shares in this book and it affirms in many ways my philosophy of youth ministry as well as…

  • Youth Ministry

    Back to School and Life

    It is a beauitful evening tonight.  It has been incredibly hot in the midwest and we finally had some rain and a little relief today in the tempartures.  I’m sitting on deck enjoying the sounds of nature and a cool breeze. Wireless internet is so amazing…  Ha.  You thought I was going all nature on you.  Okay – that part is absolutely wonderful as well. The youth are all officially back to school today. Some started last week but most went today.  I thought of them often throughout the day.  Wondering how they were doing, if they found someone to eat with in the cafeteria, if they knew anyone in their classes, if they were feeling insecure as they walked the hallways or entered a classroom.  That last one is a no brainer. The teenage years can be incredibly tough! It takes a lot of courage to walk into school every day or to deal with the harshness of peers…

  • Youth Ministry

    Saying Goodbye for now

    This is the time of year when I say goodbye for now nearly every day.  My youth are heading to college. For those who are returning, our final times are filled with updates on summer and plans for the year.  A nice hug, a prayer and a reminder to stay in touch. But it is the final lunch or breakfast with my youth that are leaving for the first time that gets me the most.  I’ve had breakfast and lunch nearly every day this week with these youth and so nearly every day this week has had some tears. I just can’t help it.  I make it through most of the meal and then as the inevitable is nearing and goodbyes are coming, the tears start. I’ve learned to embrace and accept them.  God uses it as a way to let the kids know how much I really love them and that they will be missed.  God also uses it…

  • Youth Ministry

    Hot Summer Days

    Last night I had our 2nd Annual College Campout.  With some of our hottest summer days ….  which is why I was thankful that they voted to stay inside!! We made s’mores in the oven and enjoyed the comfort of AC.  Very wise decision.  I went to bed around 3 this morning so I’m a little tired. This afternoon was another Mission JC for my youth.  Each Wednesday this summer we have been serving in the community on Wednesday afternoons.  We’ve worked with local food banks and community ministries. Today we purchased $400 in groceries, assembled them in a bag and delivered them to local families that are in need.  It was about 100 degrees today and the kids worked really hard going door to door delivery food.  The whole point is to let our neighbors know of God’s love for them by meeting their basic needs.  Following the example of Christ. Looking forward to a day off tomorrow to…

  • Youth Ministry

    Crossover

    Took the youth to Crossover Festival in Camdenton, MO, this weekend.  I’m really tired right now after a very short night last night so I won’t post much.  The bands were great and I was introduce to a couple of new ones I really liked.  The weather was perfect.  You couldn’t ask for any better weather.  The kids enjoyed it.  It was pretty much all good except the exit Saturday night.  I, along with one middle school boy who was riding with me, literally sat for 1 hour going nowhere trying to leave the parking lot.  11 pm – midnight we just sat barely moving.  It was so crazy and incredibly frustrating because we still had an hour drive home.  It was just poorly organized on exciting with tons and tons of cars going through one single-file exit.  With early church this morning it was a very short night. 

  • Youth Ministry

    Colorado Update

    We are nearing the end of our senior trip here in Breckenridge and it has been a great trip.  Just six seniors went which is smaller than normal but a great group.  We have a great house here near downtown Breckenridge.  I’ll post pictures when I return home of the trip and the house. We left late Saturday night and arrived late morning on Sunday.  We went to downtown Breckenridge on Monday and just relaxed to catch up on sleep and to get acclimated to the altitude here. Tuesday most of the group went white-water rafting on the Arkansas river. I stayed back with one youth who didn’t want to go which was completely fine with me.  I had a bad rafting trip several years ago where I almost drowned and I’m not particularly fond of water since then. Yesterday we all went horseback riding in the mountains which was beautiful because we had fresh snow.  It has snowed the…

  • Youth Ministry

    Senior Trip

    Here is the newest picture of Morgan sent to me by my mom. She is a beauty.  I have yet to see her eyes though… I’m in Breckenridge, CO, for the week with my seniors from our youth groups.  Every May/June we take them on a trip of their choice (within reason and budget) and this year’s group wanted to head west.  White-water rafting, horse-back riding, hiking . . . that’s the agenda. Its beautiful here.  The scenery is breath-taking and the weather is great. The group is smaller than normal – just six seniors but we are having a lot of fun.  They all get a long great so we’ve been playing lots of games together and enjoying meals around the table prepared by Chef Ken Enloe. I was so thankful that Morgan came before I left for the trip. Now I have pictures to enjoy here and to tied me over until I return home.

  • Youth Ministry

    Weekend Adventures

    On Saturday, I took about 27 youth to St. Louis for a day of skiing at Hidden Valley Ski Resort. It was a great day and I had several beginning skiiers and boarders. About 2 pm, one of my youth found me to tell me one of the girls had fallen and broken her wrist. So I headed back to the ski patrol office to wait for her arrival by sled. After 30 mins or so in the ski patrol office, I took her and a couple of friends to St. John’s Hospital about 25 minutes from the resort. I left the rest of the youth back skiing with a couple of adult sponsors. Of course, you know how ER visits can go and this was no different. We got in pretty quickly but there was a major delay with xrays. She had broken her wrist badly and they were going to set it. Now, I realized as time kept…