Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Youth Workers - Read this!

My nephew, Nate, did an excellent post on his blog about youth workers actions during music worship.  Take a look-see!
"Example

I've led worship, now, for several youth events. One day events, week-long camps, weekly youth group, and lots of stuff in between. Youthy people are complex creatures, and I'll be the first to say that it can be incredibly frustrating to "lead" them in musical worship. I have had a few great experiences, but most of the time, most youth just come across as disengaged and almost completely uninterested"  (Read More)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Youth Ministry They Will Remember

Facebook is like a treasure trove for finding people from the past.  A few weeks ago I found my second grade teacher, a couple days ago I found my 7th grade study hall teacher, Angela Hunt (yes for those of you that read she is the author you are thinking of).  As far as study hall teachers goes she was one of the best.  She also taught English but I didn't have her for that subject, maybe I would have done better with English if I had Angela as a teacher. (this may be obvious as you read my posts)

Gary, Angela's husband, was one of my youth leaders as a young impressionable junior higher.  Now I can't remember one lesson Gary may have delivered (no offense to him personally).  What I remember is that Gary was an awesome youth leader.  Why do I remember Gary when I can't remember all of my youth leaders from my younger days?  Gary invested himself in building relationships with us and that is what makes the difference between and average youth minister/worker and the cream of the crop.  He talked to us and not at us, he talked with us.  That's what I remember.  I don't even know if Gary remembers me, our youth group was huge. But I remember Gary and in my book he was a great youth leader.

Youth ministry is about building relationships with students.  When they know you genuinely care about them they will take to hear the things you teach them even if when they are older they can't remember your lessons or messages they will remember you cared about them and invested in their lives.  So for all of us in the trenches of youth ministry let's get busy investing in those lives and building relationships that make an impact, youth ministry they will remember.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Backpack Awareness Sunday


Operation Backpack 2008 will be our first time at NHC to try this most excellent outreach to the community.  For the past month or so church members have been bringing in school supplies to give to families in need for the new school year.  Recently some other churches and local businesses have gotten on board.  We are excited to see how this year's OP BKPK turns out.  I believe this is going to grow into an awesome yearly outreach event for NHC and the community of churches on the OBX.

Today was backpack awareness Sunday and many of our members and regular attenders wore backpacks to church today.  We had a competition for the best backpack in each service.  It was super sweet when a "mature" churchgoer stood up and was wearing this awesome backpack on his back:

It's fun when we church folk "get it" and get on board!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

HABITS

Habits is a great resource to use to teach students about the basic disciplines we need to grow spiritually.  This is a series I teach at least every year to year-and-a-half.  I don't want students to graduate from high school and then at the same time grad from their faith.  My desire is that when students leave the youth ministry at NHC that they know enough about the HABITS that they will continue to grow and get plugged into a church wherever they are going to college and continue to serve Christ and his church.

3 out of 4 students walking away from their faith when they graduate.  What is your church's youth ministry doing to take steps to prevent this from happening in your students?

HABITS is a an awesome resource.  I would encourage you to take a look at HABITS.  If you want to know more about this tool you can click the link to the left of this post and check it out.  (It is on sale right now so you can save some money from your youth budget!)  All we can do as youth leaders is to provide the teaching and the resources, the student has to take the steps to put what he (she) is hearing and learning into action in their own life.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Parents! Check this out.

"I think everyone would admit that there is a point in a teen's life when the influence of his/her parents becomes less, and the influence of their friends becomes greater. I did an informal survey yesterday on Twitter, and again last night at dinner with some friends. It seems that the age at which the parents' influence drops dramatically happens somewhere around 13- to 15-years old"  (Read More)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Do these animals look familiar?


The nervous member who is afraid of change


Old youth pastor contemplating change


The pastor who handles change a bit rough


Members who are not even aware of change


Members who will not move no matter what especially if you are sitting in their pew

All photos courtesy of The ADD Youth Pastor and the animals of the NC Zoo

Monday, July 21, 2008

Start Your Engines

If you ever get to Asheboro there are two places you must go:
1.  Wal Mart - The most interesting cast of characters I have ever seen (and I lived in Oklahoma) at a Wal Mart.  Trust me, you don't want to miss it.

2.  The Richard Petty Museum - I'm not a big racing fan but Richard Petty is a legend and when you are that close to the King's car from the movie Cars you just gotta stop.  Lots of interesting stuff in the museum besides just cars.  Children under 6 get in FREE!!






Sunday, July 20, 2008

A couple of observations from SC

I leave S.C. tomorrow morning to head back up to N.C. for the next stop of our vacation.  Before I leave S.C. I want to make two observations:
1.  More people drive with their windows down in temps well above 90 degrees.  Everywhere I look people have their windows down and it is really hot out.  Today it hit 100 and people were just enjoying their Sunday drive with the window down.  Some even ate out on the patio at the restaurant where we ate lunch.

2.  I saw an interesting sign while pumping gas yesterday and sucking my hard earned money out of my wallet and into the pockets of  rich oil company executives.   Mind you I was at a gas station that sold fried chicken.  Not unusual for a gas station to sell chicken but was unusual was this:
 

Saturday, July 19, 2008

ADD Youth Pastor Goes Wild




Hollywild that is.  Today we visited Hollywild in Lyman, SC.  Many of the animals at the park are in commercials.  The zebra from the hummer commercials. . . I saw him today.  Tank the 6,000 pound rhino that was in the cold medicine commercials last winter. . .I saw him today.  The appaloosa horse from Pipi Longstockings. . . I saw him today.  I also saw hundreds of Fallow Deer, they had them everywhere.  It was like "bubba" decided to replace the farm animals with wild ones.  No real reassuring confinement on the big beasts.

Here are a few pics.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Beacon Drive In


Today we had a short drive and along the way we made a stop at Beacon Drive In.  The Beacon was featured on Diners Drive-Ins and Dives on the food network.  We got their at about 1 and the place was slammin, lined up out the door.  Literally while we were there hundreds went through the line.  When you approach the counter there is  man there that takes your order and then hollers it out in their own lingo.  Hundreds of orders but not one of them written down.  

Basic diner food, not real healthy and not incredible as far as taste goes, but the show was incredible.  The Beacon sells more iced tea in the USA than anyone else.  It was very, very, very good ice tea.  They had ice buckets in the restaurant and then you fill your cup up and they have tea dispensers all over to get your refill.  

I had the chili cheeseburger and then piled on top was a mountain of fries topped with a mountain of onion rings.  I shared the rings and the fries but not my chili cheeseburger.  This stop was a highlight of my vacation.

Behold the Chili Cheeseburger A-Plenty



It's a Peach!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Cantina Fifteen Eleven

I dined tonight at perhaps one of the best mexican restaurants ever.  It was the best!
We met my niece for dinner since we are staying in her town tonight.
They had chips and two types of salsa on the table.  Wait a second, I know what you are thinking, "Don't all mexican restaurants have chips and salsa on the table?"  Yes, but we had cloth napkins.  Oh yeah, it was that nice.

I started the meal off by ordering guacamole for our chips.  They made the guacamole at our table!  Hello!!  That's crazy insanely unbelievably fantastico!  Our waiter even asked if we wanted it chunky or smooth.  Awesome!  The guacamole set the tone for the entire meal.

I had Cantina Chimichanga.  A chimichanga stuffed with roasted chicken, black beans, carmelized peppers, onions and cilantro.  Topped with a queso sauce and a poblano sauce.  Set a plate of it on top of your head and watch-your-tongue-slap-your-brains-out-trying-to-get-to-it good.

My son, the birthday boy, ate chicken tenders, of course, with fries, chocolate milk and ice cream - $5!  Of course our meals made up the difference but $5 for chicken tender dinner with Hagen Dahz ice cream!  Wow!

Vacation Day 1


Much fun today!  Even the 6 hour drive wasn't bad.  Summary:
  • up really early
  • birthday gifts
  • two pit stops
  • wal mart
  • chik fil a
  • special stop
  • hotel
  • birthday gifts
  • pool
  • dinner at Cantina 1511 (will be posting on that in a moment)
After years of getting film developed and then paying extra for a disc we decided we would quit throwing money away on pictures we didn't want and we made a purchase today.  We have finally gone digital!


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

It Is Official

I'm on vacation starting when I woke up at 8:00am today!  I know that is sleeping late but I was up until 12:30am looking for a good deal on condos on Maui.  I have a twentieth anniversary next year as well as a sabbatical.  Could I combine the two?  Hmmmmm........  We do love Maui!  Maui No Ka Oi!

So I may or may not blog over the next week, it will just depend on what hits me.  I will probably post more on Twitter.com and you can follow me there.  Or check my twitters on this blog page of Facebook.  I'm sure I'll have some interesting food comments and zoo comments at some point.

I'll leave you with something to think about:

According to a survey by www.lifewayresearch.com, Of the non-churchgoing respondents aged 30 and over,
  • 75% would be willing to listen to someone talk about his or her Christian beliefs.
  • 75% would enjoy an honest conversation with a friend about religious and spiritual beliefs, even if they disagreed with the friend.
  • Only 28% think the Christians they know talk to them too much about their beliefs.

Monday, July 14, 2008

80's Flashback!

Ran across my wife's glasses from 1985.  I think I look smashing baby!

Community Collision

If you would like to view the poster larger simply click on the poster.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Contagious Tonight

Tonight at Contagious on the beach we set a new record.  90 hot dogs consumed!  
Tonight we talked about Joshua facing an impossible task, defeating Jericho (Joshua 6).
We learned to:
1.  Seek and encounter with God
2. Submit to his will
3.  Serve even in the smallest details

Parent Pod continues to go well each week there are some new faces in the Pod.  We had a slew of guests tonight to the youth group.    Summer at Contagious is great, relaxed, fun and growing.  It is also awesome to have the best youth ministry team on the face of the planet!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

July After Affect

Why Vacations are Soooo Good

You know today I think I have figured out the secret to why vacations are so fantastic.  I spent the better part of the day today cleaning our car top to bottom, washing it, vacuum, armor all, clean the windows, pick up the toys that were under seats, behind seats, on top of seats.  I bet I vacuumed up at least a box worth of Cheerios.  Checked the fluids.

Then I mowed the lawn and ran the weed eater and then used the blower to clean out the garage and driveway.  I bet there was at least a beach worth of sand in our garage and drive way.  I then cleaned the pool (don't be envious, it's one of those blue blow up pools, remember I'm a youth pastor, I can't afford a real pool).  I moved from the pool to the outdoor shower and gave the dog a bath.

Now all I have left to do is help my most beautiful wife clean the house.  Clean out the fridge.   Then I need to gather all of our travel documents (travel documents sounds a lot fancier than trip tiks from AAA), hotel reservations.  I also have to find two restaurants that I saw on the triple D on the food network.  Oh yes, I'll be doing some Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.  Got to map all that out, load addresses into Maggie (my gps).  So of course when fuel is so expensive we plan a road trip vacation.  Then load the car with all of our gear.  Line up Rich to take care of the beast and the house while we are out of town (I know it's risky but Rich is getting to be such a big boy now).

I also have to line up the youth ministry team for youth group while I'm gone.  You know I have actually heard of youth groups canceling youth group gatherings while their underpaid, one-vacation -week-a-year youth pastor, takes his vacation.  Not happening at NHC!  We have the best youth ministry team on the face of planet earth and they keep things cranking while I'm gone.  I don't even think about it once I'm on the road.  They are pros and know what they are doing.  So if your church cancels youth stuffs when the YP is on vacation it's time for you to help him build a youth ministry team.  You will keep your YP longer and make your youth ministry stronger.  There I worked in a youth ministry tip.

All of this work is what makes the vacation so sweet.  All the prep work is what makes the vacation fantastic.  You knock yourself out getting ready for the vacation so when you pull out of the driveway there is a huge sense of relief.  Of course if you don't do all the prep work do you really need a vacation?

Because I know the question will come up, we are going to visit family and hit a sweet zoo.  Oh, and of course some triple D diners along the way.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Time to Change

Change is inevitable.  All around us our world is changing.  It seems to me that our world is changing at a faster rate than the old days.  It took a long time to go from the bag phone to the big giant military walkie talkie size hand-held cell phone.  Now they change the style and size of cell phones almost on  monthly basis.  Information travels faster then ever.  The Internet brings on a whole different realm of change.  A few weeks ago our small church Ustreamed a worship gathering on the Internet and literally thousands have viewed the gathering.  

I have noticed changes in the approach of youth ministry over the past 15 years.  Face it we have to change as a church, as a youth ministry, or we are no longer relevant and we no longer have an effective impact on our community.  Change is not easy on most of us, we don't like change, we like things to stay the same.  The question is are we going to change with the times or be stuck in  rut.  I was in a church foyer once thumbing through their tract rack and found a gospel tract that was obviously old, it was black and white and printed in the '50's.  They obviously didn't understand change and the need for it.  Most humans are creatures of habits, just like holstein cows.  We must change our approach, our methods, our systems but we can't change our message.  

Every now and then you will notice it is time to tweak a youth ministry.  How is the best way to handle the change?
  • Pray for wisdom
  • Plan out the change well.  (Purpose of the change, timing, system changes, etc.)
  • Don't spring the surprise on everyone at the same time
  • Inform church leadership of the coming change
  • Inform the youth ministry team of the changes (if possible have them help formulate the change. this could be the hard part for some of us.  you may even want to bring some of the core students in for input)
  • Inform parents of the upcoming change
  • Look for natural times of change; beginning of the school year, summer, in between semesters, etc.
  • Present the change to the students
  • Present the change to the church (however your church handles business like that.  thankfully at NHC we don't vote on everything and we don't have a committee we have to pass through for approval to do ministry and serve others)
Wonder why I'm thinking about change right now?  I'm at step one now, soon I'll be meeting with the youth ministry team to work on step two.  Change is on the horizon!  Change for the better, change that will better meet the needs of students. 

Monday, July 7, 2008

My New Book

My new book, How to Organize a Parent Pod, should be hitting shelves soon!   

Not really.  I am excited though about the Parent Pod and praying it launches into a full blown parent ministry for parents of teens.   Last night we had our Lord's Supper gathering so there was no Contagious at the beach and consequently no Parent Pod.  I actually heard a couple of parents say last night that they missed Parent Pod.  Awesome!  

I better trademark Parent Pod soon before someone else does. . . . . . 

Great Blog Post on Putting Together a Worship Service

One of the blogs I read is More than Dodgeball.  Josh G is the Senior High Pastor at Saddleback in Cali.  I appreciated this blog post:

I want students walking away from the weekend worship service (our entry level program) with the big idea. I want them to “get” the sermon in a sentence - stuck in their heads with creativity, skill and passion. I want visual learners to get it, note takers to get it, freshman and seniors to get it, I want the uninterested to be drawn in and the regulars engaged week after week. . . . . Read More
What do you think?  Is it really all the message?

Last Night at Contagious

Yesterday was the first Sunday of the month and at NHC we celebrate and remember our Lord on the first Sunday night each month with a Lord's Supper worship gathering and fellowship dinner.  The communion worship time was most excellent and a little different from what we have done in the past and I really enjoyed the gathering and the fellowship, round tables are a great invention.  The fellowship dinner was some ono brah.  Last night was Luau night.  I cooked traditional Kalua Pig in my oven, a pork roast wrapped in bananas and ti leaves.  I also cooked a big pot of rice and a pineapple pie.

After Affect was at Galaxy Golf.  We basically took over the mini golf course.  The girls from Russia working the little hut at the entrance was a little overwhelmed to have 44 of us descend on her at one time.  (I had called ahead earlier in the week to warn them of our arrival)  My game was fantastic with the exception of one hole.  I would have shot a 40 if I didn't have some problems with hole 14.  The students and adult leaders had a great time.  Hopefully I'll have some pics to post real soon.  

There is something great that happens when you get the youth group together for events like mini golf.  Some youth groups are imbalanced and are all fun and games.  Some youth groups are imbalanced and are all deep Biblical content.  Some groups figure out how to find the balance and offer just enough fun to help the Biblical stick.  Fellowship is like a glue that holds us together as believers and the same is true among youth ministries.  

Some mini golf tips:
1.  Call at least a week ahead and let the golf course manager know you will be bringing a group
2.  Inquire if there is a group rate (don't expect a discount simply because you are a church.  I get a little irritated when I hear believers expect a discount because they are a church group or even want the freebie treatment.  Since when was it the world's responsibility to take care of us and cater to us?)
3.  Arrange transportation.
4.  Communicate to parents the pick up time at the golf course.
5.  Have an adequate amount of adult volunteers to help (I suggest a ratio of 6 to 1)
6.  If you are collecting cash from the students do this in advance.  Make sure you arrange how you will pay the course.
7.  Have someone taking pictures.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Thunder On The Ridge

The Outer Banks Youth Minsitry Network will be hosting a back to school bash in August, Thunder On The Ridge.  This will be an evening of challenging students to get involved in reaching their campus and promoting See You At The Pole as well as FCA.
We will be having a cookout, worship gathering followed by ice cream and Thunder On The Ridge.
Below is a promo video.  We tried sliding down the dune this morning but it just wasn't working for us.  So we did the best we could.


Pray for Anthony

Anthony V. is a 12 year old boy with CF.  Anthony had a double lung transplant in the early morning while most of us were sleeping.  Pray for Anthony as he goes through recovery and pray that there is no rejection.  Pray for Anthony's parents and family as they wait and then walk with Anthony through recovery.  Pray for the donor's family as they grieve the loss of their loved one.  Thank God for donors and their families.

If you have not registered to be an organ donor I would encourage you to get on the list.  What better gift to give someone than life?

My Mission Trip Experience

I just returned last week from the island of Eleuthera.  On the island there is a Christian sports camp, Camp Bahamas.  Camp Bahamas is re...