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

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Social Media Promotion

 Do you use Instagram or social media to promote your youth ministry?

Lately I have been making two Instagram pics each week to promote our Sunday night youth group gathering.  I usually make one that focuses on the message and one that focuses on the food and fun.  I then post them a few times during the week to spread the word.  Hopefully students will catch on and "like" and "share" with others.  We also use a # that students can use during youth group to post pics.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Sunday Night in The Loft

Sunday night we had a great time in The Loft.

We were all pretty tired from the weekend.  Most of the youth group had attended The Call and many on our team had volunteered at The Call.  So we were tuckered out.  At least I was because I'm an old man.  Good turn out of students and some guests.

So it looked like this:
Game - Clumps (always a crowd favorite)
Song - Our God is Greater
Prayer and welcome by student
Song - Inside Out
Share time - students took turns sharing what they learned at The Call.
Offering -
Prayer Time - we sat in a big circle and students would share a prayer request and another students would pray for the request.  Working on getting students to not be afraid to pray out loud.

Followed by Hang Time - we had sloppy dogs and bacon cheese fries.

I give the night a 4 out of 5 popcorn boxes!

Monday, March 9, 2015

The Call 2015

This past weekend we hosted The Call 2015.  Students from several different youth groups and their leaders gathered at Nags Head Church for a weekend of intensive learning and worship.

During our main worship sessions we were led in worship in music by the MP13 Band.  The band did a great job of leading and the students jumped right in.  Loved it!

Our first night Dave Glander shared his story of how God changed his life.  A powerful example of life-change.

Day two:

Students were picked a track for the weekend, so the students were with the same leader, same topic, same group of students for the weekend in the tracks.

We had Shane McGann from LeaderTreks leading the 4 sessions of leadership.  Shane did a great job, our students shared with me about some of the things they learned and the initiatives they did together in that track.

 I shared a message during our second worship session.  The focus was on being a follower of Jesus and not simply settling for being a believer in Jesus Christ.

Todd Kemp, youth pastor of Bagley Swamp Wesleyan Church, led our track on evangelism.  Students were equipped to share their faith and were given the opportunity to practice sharing together.

Amy Denson, youth pastor at Duck United Methodist Church, led the discipleship track.  Student learned some great spiritual habits to instill in their lives to help them grow in their faith and be more deeply rooted.

Dave Glander led our apologetics track.  The students had a great time learning to defend their faith.  One student said to me, "Dave blew evolution out of the water."

 I met with the youth leaders.  We wrote several topics we wanted to discuss together on a giant post it note.  Then we chipped away at the topics.  I also shared about our team restructure and our focus on discipleship in 2015.

Ramon Sanchez wrapped up the weekend by challenging students to take what they learned this weekend and put it into action in their lives, not just store it up but to let it go.

 This was the smoothest flowing The Call we have ever hosted.  Our volunteers knocked it out of the park!  Everyone knew what they were supposed to do and they did it.  Very little, if any, stress on me leading the event.  The sign of having great support from wonderful volunteers and good planning.

Already looking forward to The Call 2016!