Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Cell Phone Post

The dreaded cell phone.  For years in youth ministry we have combatted the cell phone.  In the early years it wasn't a battle because phones were so expensive to have and to use.  In addition they were huge, a handheld looked like a military phone used to call in air strikes, the bag phone just wasn't cool to carry around.   

Because I’m an old man I probably struggled more than others.  When I was a teen we used land line phones if we were going to call each other.  We waited until we saw each other to talk and have conversations.  If we wanted to listen to music together we had to get into the 69 Bug (this was in 85, I’m not that old) and listen to Phil Collins on the boombox located in my backseat because I was too poor to install a stereo system.  To take a picture I had to get the roll of film for my Kodak camera, as a result I don’t have many pictures of me and my friends from the days of old.

I have seen the problems cell phones cause on youth trips or at youth group gatherings.  Students get locked into their own world with a friend who didn’t come on the trip, or boyfriend/girlfriend.  The student who puts in the ear buds to block out everyone else.  For sure there are problems with the cell phone on the trip or at youth worship gatherings.  Here it comes . . . .

BUT . . .

There are some benefits to the cell phone:

On the trip to the amusement park you can find students quickly and easily.  You can remind them in a group text to meet at the main gate at 8:55pm, etc.

Pictures are one of the best ways to promote events.  Students can instantly post pics to Instagram, Twitter, Facebook.

You can’t be everywhere at the event at one time so students can share their pics with you to use to promote the event next year and on your web site/Facebook page.

Students are using their cell phone with Youversion app for their Bible reading.  A lot easier to carry to youth group and they actually have a Bible with them at all times.

Great pics from youth group worship can be posted immediately.

The “hover parent” can text their kid instead of texting you at 11:30pm to see how “Johnny” is doing on the trip.

BUT . . .

It’s good to lay down some ground rules.

Our rules at our Student Church on Sunday nights: 
If we see you texting a bunch we ask you to put it away.  If you are constantly on your phone we have a nice little box to put your phone in.

You are welcome to use your phone to take pics, post to social media.
Please use your phone and use your Bible app if you didn’t bring your Bible.

No earbuds or headphones.

Monday, June 22, 2015

A No Brainer

A few weeks ago I was on the beach with my family on a Sunday afternoon and as we left the beach I walked past a large group of local middle and high schools students who were hanging out at the beach. 

Each Sunday night during July and August our youth group meets at the beach, we have been doing this for 13 years.  We meet at a different beach access than the one my family was hanging out at.  As we left the beach that day the thought rolled through my mind, "Why not meet at a beach access where middle and high school students are already hanging out at?"  It was sort of a "no brainer" moment.  But I tucked it away in my cranium and let it roll around in there for a few weeks.  It kept surfacing and I kept tucking it away in the noggin.

Last week I got a "nudge" that pushed me to make the decision.  I ran it by our team of volunteers and they were all on board.  I even got a few, "Change is good!"

So we are going to amp it up in a few ways:

1.  Our students will lead the way in setting up the beach for our student church on the beach.
2.  Our students will set up  Beach volleyball, cornhole, KanJam, Spikeball.
2.  Set up a large pop up canopy with a banner (possibly set up earlier in the day to get attention)
3.  Continue to grill hot dogs as we have in the past (but grill more)
4.  Play some music
5.  Have our students be the ones that go around and invite the middle and high school students there to join the fun.

The trick is getting our students to catch the vision.  I'm promoting it with parents via email and Facebook group.  I'm promoting it among the students via Instagram.

July 5th is our launch of youth group on the beach 2.0 - Student Church on the Beach.  Check back and I'll let you know how it is going.  Join us in praying for a great success in sharing the love of Jesus Christ with students at the beach.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Last Night in The Loft

Wow!  It has been a while since I have posted in the old blog.  Been super busy and just haven't taken the time.  Trying to get back in the saddle.

Last night we had an eventful evening.  We have several graduates to say goodbye to so we celebrated with cupcakes and sub sandwiches.  Each graduate received a copy of "Moving On" Knowing where you're going to go and how to get there.  This book is from our fine friends at LeaderTreks and Doug Franklin.

Our current series has been The Real World.  We have dealt with the fact that life is full of struggles, finances, being a light in a dark world.  Last night we took a look at My Place in the real world.  Quick overview of the message:

  •  God has a plan and that plan includes you.  Jeremiah 29:11
    • God is sovereign
  •  Find His Plan
    •  Right Now > follow him, share him, love others
    • In the Future
      • How do I discover his plan for my life?
        • Spend time in the Bible and prayer
        • Ask God to show you.  Proverbs 3:5-6
        • Seek advice from godly and more mature people
        • Don't get so consumed by the future that you miss out on today
          Matthew 6:33, 34
  • Seize the Opportunity   (Esther's story; Esther 4:14
We  said "Welcome" to our 5th graders moving into 6th grade.  This was a big moment for me personally as my eldest man-child is now in the youth group.  I'm now my son's youth pastor.   How did this happen so fast?  This could get interesting.  

my boy's first student worship experience
We said "Goodbye" to Marie.  Marie has served with me in youth ministry as a volunteer longer than anyone else at NHC, probably around 12 years.  We are going to miss Marie on Sunday nights!!  Marie has decided that she is going to switch it up.  She will be working with our 4th and 5th graders on Sunday mornings.  Where did I spot her during Hang Time last night?  Doing what she does best, sitting with middle school girls talking with them and building relationships.  It is the end of an era.  She will be missed but I'm excited for how God is going to use her in the lives of our 4th and 5th grade students.
 Marie is dead center in our YM Team photo strip

The YM Team left the church and headed to the Snow Bird for some ice cream and time to hang out with Marie on her last night of serving with us.  Nothing consoles the heart like a big old scoop of ice cream.  (I had moose tracks)

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Mission Trip

We just returned from a great mission trip.  We took 9 students and 6 adults to the island of Eleuthera to work at Camp Bahamas.  Some think right way, “Oh, yeah.  The Bahamas.  Right.”  We discovered on our trip that 75% of children born in the Bahamas last year were born to single moms.  Over 60% of the nations population is under the age of 24.  This nation doesn’t stand a chance if the youth are not reached with the gospel.

Camp Bahamas is knocking it out of the park.  The only Christian camp, that I’m aware of, in an entire nation.  For 6 weeks in the summer they put on camp for children and youth.  Eighty kids a week show up to have fun, play sports and learn about the love of Jesus Christ.  During the year they host many retreats and events that are focused on life change through Jesus.

When you hear the history and vision of the camp from camp director, Richard Albury, you immediately know that Camp Bahamas is a “God thing”.  

Our group had the honor of serving Camp Bahamas for several days.  We flew in on a Saturday.  We arrived late in the afternoon and unloaded and got set in our cabins then spent some time relaxing and jumping in the ocean before dinner.

Sunday we attended worship at a Hatian church where the service was almost entirely in Creole.  What a great experience for our students!  The Hatians loved worshipping and being at church, you could see the joy of the Lord in them.  Two of our students shared their testimony and the pastor interpreted for them.  These two students moved way out of their comfort zone.

Monday we worked all day at the camp clearing brush and picking up trash and construction debris.

Tuesday through Thursday we worked at the camp in the mornings and then in the afternoons we went to a local park and played ball with the kids.  One day we bought them all ice cream.  Each day at the park one of our students shared a Bible story with the kids.  It was interesting that on the first day there was only one kid at the park when we arrived and it didn’t take long for word to spread through the settlement of Tarpum Bay that we were at the park.  Soon we had about 20 something kids there playing ball with us.  This was our students’ favorite part of the mission trip.  On the final day at the park I followed up the Bible story with the gospel.

Friday was our “free” day.  We helped clean up some cabins in the morning then went out to lunch and spend the afternoon swimming and went and checked out a banyan tree.

 Each morning we worked on our quiet time journal which was specifically designed for a mission trip.  You can find these resources at LeaderTreks.  Each evening after dinner we gathered together for a team meeting.  We reviewed our day and evaluated our team.

The purposes of this trip was to:
Expose students to a different culture
Move students out of their comfort zone

Allow students to experience a short term mission experience

Serve and minister to Camp Bahamas staff and future campers

Share the love of Christ with the kids of Eleuthera

What an awesome experience we had together and everyone on the trip is already talking of a return mission trip. 
  I'm not gonna lie, for an old guy the work wore me out and I had muscles aching, muscles I had forgotten about long ago.  As a youth pastor I was so encouraged by our students serving without complaining and doing what was asked of them.  They truly understood the reason why they were on the island.   Now we are talking of how we can apply what we learned in Eleuthera here in our own community. 

Monday, March 30, 2015

Last Night in The Loft

 Last night in The Loft:

5:50 Games - Boxes (great game and a student won the grand prize of dinner for himself and 3 friends, chauffered in the big blue van of happiness to a local mexican food restaurant)
6:00 - Song - Our God
6:05 - Prayer led by student, Offering
6:07 - Song - Whom Shall I Fear
6:11 - Video - To This Day
6:20 - Andy - Intro to the study
6:23 - PODz (small groups)
7:00 - Hang Time (quesadillas and floats)
8:00 - Goodnight

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Last Sunday in The Loft

Well actually we were outside The Loft half the time.

Our line up was as follows:
5:45 - Music going; Check in station manned

5:50 - Game  - Blocks
(starting the ice breaker games a little earlier in hopes to get our few "late comers" to arrive early/on time)

6:00 - Song - We Believe

6:05 - Song - Whom Shall I fear

6:10 -  Message - Rescue series - Sacrifice: Why did Jesus have to die?

6:25 - Next Steps/Offering

6:30 -PODS (small groups)

7:00 - Hang Time

During Hang Time we went out to the fire pit and roasted hot dogs and had all the fixins to go with and sat/stood around the fire and chatted.  Also we made Smores, always a crowd favorite.  Some of the students played some soccer.  Good times were had by all.
 instagram promo pics