Sunday, September 28, 2008

I'm on vacation

Today we were guests

My observations as a guest:

>No one greeting out front or in the parking area. We were slightly confused as to where to park.
>No one at the Children's check in kiosk.
>Only one person eventually showed up to the kiosk, same person acted as the guide to the classroom which explains why there was nobody at the kiosk when we got there.
>The "bulletin" was very informative and also contained a sheet for sermon notes. In color!
>Service was advertised as starting at 10:40 but didn't start until almost 11. Had we known that we wouldn't have arrived at 10:30. We did get to watch the 14:45 sound check and thought the service had started until they stopped before the song ended and just started talking amongst themselves on the stage, we then realized the service had not begun yet. Sort of funny, guess you had to been there.
>Nice audio/video equipment but the sound was bad and the powerpoint was a bit behind the times.
>The band was good but again the sound in the auditorium didn't help them much.
> 4 Him music playing before and after from one of their mid 90's cd's. ( Anyone remember "Measure of a Man"?)
>There are varying ideas of what contemporary is
>I was quite comfortable in my shorts and t-shirt
>My son had a good time in his class and learned about Namaan. Children's workers were friendly.
>The only greeting we received was from the bulletin hand out dude and the friendly lady at the kiosk
>No one near us in the pews greeted us but then again they may have been guests as well.
>Two bass players in the band and couldn't hear either of them.
>Praise choir couldn't be heard because of the sound issue.
>Pastor preached a sermon about lying which was part of a series he is doing on the 10 commandments. He was very pleasant to listen to and not long winded which was nice. He did a great job covering what lying is, why we lie, the affects of lying.
>Church building is old and historical I'm sure. The attendance looks about the same as ours but they have a whole lot more room and space, plenty of room to grow which is nice.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The OBX can take some beach lessons from FLA

Our friend, Gary the gator, he lives behind the condo we are staying in and we enjoy watching him cruise around the lake.

While their are no waves, at least on the Gulf side, in Fla.  They have some pretty sweet beaches.
We have visited 4 and yesterday's beach was such an incredible experience we are going back there again today.

Some lessons that OBX can learn from FLA:

One word - Concession Stand!   Each beach we have been to have a concession/picnic area.  Some even have had playgrounds for the kiddos.  Yesterday I cruised up the vast expanse of the beach to the concession stand and purchased lunch for the family and then carried it back to our beach umbrella.  Prices weren't bad but the best thing was we didn't have to pack along a cooler or huge bag of food for the day (we were there most of the day).  

The biggest lesson the OBX can learn are butts on the beach.  Every year I go to our beaches and get irritated because all around me in the sand are cigarette butts.  I want to design a t-shirt that reads: Keep your butts off our beach!  If a person has to have a nasty habit they should at least keep that habit in the privacy of their own car or home.  Worse than looking around and seeing the butts is getting all set up and then have a loud family, from a state where they only know how to communicate by yelling,  set up 3 feet from your beach chair when they had 55 yards of sand around you to choose from.  But then it gets worse, they light up a ciggy.  Next thing I know I'm choking on second hand smoke.  Very inconsiderate of them.

So all of that ranting and raving brings me to this (which by the way none of this has anything to do with youth ministry or parenting except parents shouldn't let their kids smoke) Florida's beaches are smoke free zones.  It is illegal to smoke on the beach!!!!!   They even have sweet containers at the entrance to the beach much like our doggy poo bag containers on the OBX but these containers are for cigarettes.  It was great to experience the beach this week, the beauty of the blue and aqua green water, the soft sand (like baby powder), to watch my son play in the sand and surf, all of this in a smoke free environment.  
Siesta Key is a huge beach with snow white snow that feels like baby powder.  It is a super wide beach.  They had at least 8 volleyball courts on the beach.  You have to walk out pretty far to get to deep water which is good for families with small children.  

On a side note:
The other day when I was at Starbucks it cost me $15 which included one cup of coffee, a scone, and wireless fee.  
Today I sit in Panera.  I bought 4 bagels a tub of cream cheese and a large coffee, $8.79.  I'm feeding the whole family and getting free Internet.  Starbucks could learn something from Panera!

Tomorrow we attend FBC Venice.  I'm going to do my best not to kick into evaluation mode.  Hopefully I'll learn a few tips from them that we can use, we shall see.

Next week . . . let me just say I shall be spending my birthday with Mickey.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Vacation Update #1

Hopefully you have been checking in from time to time.  I have set up my twitter account to post to my blog so you can pretend you are on vacation with me.

We had a bad hotel experience on the trip.  Never staying at a Best Western again.  Nasty dirty rooms that weren't even cleaned or the linens changed.  G-ross!  I logged onto the internet at the Country Inn and Suites (we love those hotels, clean, spacious and free cookies and drinks) and complained online to the folks at Best Western headquarters.

We are enjoying our condo stay thus far.  Nice 3 bedroom unit on a big pond.  Thanks to Debbie for the gift of the condo for the week!  (that's how youth pastors afford vacations, we look for deals or when people bless us with a sweet hook up)  We have named the alligator that lives in the pond Gary.  We sit on the screened in Lanai and watch for Larry.

We hit the beach on day 1. (only after discovering the goodness of breakfast at Bob Evans)  Found lots of cool shells that we don't have back home.  The dude at the Mote aquarium told me that many of the shells we find here are extinct.  I'm a dadburn seashell archeologist, an aquaologist of sorts.  

Day 2 we took a trip to Sarasota, FL to check out the Mote aquarium.  If you are ever in Florida check it out, it was a really good aquarium.  Best part is we are members of the aquarium back home which got us into the Mote for FREE!!!!  We did lunch at a deli in this cool area of Sarasota, very tropical feeling.  Huge tourist trap.

We wondered the whole way here why the roads were so bumpy only to discover it was our tires.  Luke, my personal mechanic, told me that it was getting close to time to change the tires.  So here I sit in Starbucks while my tires are being replaced.  I had to walk a mile but I knew the reward of the blessed java would be worth it.

Today we are having another beach day and then eating at a pier this evening with live music.  I may very well bust a move.  Hey, it's vacation!

This may be my only vacation update because there is no way I'm paying for internet again.   Come on Starbucks!  Love the people who are making you rich!!!!!!

Friday, September 19, 2008


Recently we had someone call the church to find out what “kind” of church we are.  This person was looking for a church that fits their style, which is fine.  The problem we run into is when we start stereotyping churches that aren’t our style or “kind” of church.  This person’s style choice is traditional, which is fine, hymn only , which is fine, wear a suit and tie, which is fine.  This is fine because that is where they “fit”.  They are vanilla ice cream and NHC is coconut macadamia nut ice cream. 

While carrying out the phone interview this person found out that we are a Purpose Driven church.  Immediately the interviewer’s spouse said, “Oh, they play that loud music.”  Stereotype – Purpose Driven churches only play loud, contemporary music.  Truth of the matter is not all Purpose Driven churches play “loud music”.  Even Saddleback offers a variety of music styles in their different services.  We do however play “loud” music, that’s who we are.

What would a member from the early church do if they came back to our churches now?  Probably find some things they don’t care for, things that don’t fit into our stereotypes.  As a matter of fact if the phone interviewer could travel back in time they wouldn’t have liked the first church because it wouldn’t be a “fit” for them.

 1st Church member about our churches today:

  • I don’t like your big buildings to meet in, I like meeting in homes
  • Your church doesn’t give sacrificially to help other believers in need
  • Your church won’t sell their homes and property to help those in need
  • Your church isn’t dedicated to prayer
  • Your church has confused fellowship with pot luck dinners
  • Your church isn’t experiencing any miracles like our church does

When we decide that our “style” choice is the way church is supposed to be we then step into the stereotyping zone.  Not a good place to be.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

We are going!

Our own Greg

Just watched our church's own Greg A. on Nightline (thanks to the DVR).  I searched Nightline's site but they have yet to put up the video.  If they do I'll post the link.  In the meantime I'm going to figure out how I can burn a dvd from the DVR and then post Greg's interview.  Greg is in Texas coordinating the feeding of thousands.  It's a huge task to feed that many, Jesus pulled it off with just a couple of fish and some bread and 12 guys to distribute it ;).  Greg's getting a taste of what the disciples felt at the time.

Thank God we have believers like Greg who are willing to give of their time and their finances to go and help people who are hurting.  Heroes!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Training Day

I just received my weekly newsletter from SYM.  In this newsletter are three great articles about helping hurting teens.  If we focused on that alone (not suggesting we should) our youth groups would be busting at the seams. 

If you work with teens in any capacity I suggest you read these three articles that I'm posting compliments of Simply.  Just click on the light blue article title to read the article.

Thanks and keep reaching students!

The Scoop on Anorexia

Unseen Struggles in Youth Ministry

Bind Their Wounds

Monday, September 15, 2008

So you know what YP's do on conference trips

Meeting because it's on the calendar

One thing that drove me nuts in my past church experiences is the whole idea of a "fall revival" or a "spring revival".  Some churches have both.  Don't get me wrong.  It is good to have some special times together as a church to focus on renewal and getting our hearts right with God. 

I remember as a child getting drug to a month long revival meeting.  Every night for a month we went to church.  I remember thinking that if someone would just hit me in the head with a hammer I would be better off.  The social aspect of the month long meetings was it's only saving value to me as a kid, I got to play with friends before and after the service.

The fact is most churches are calling a revival what is actually a series of evangelistic meetings, that is the problem.  This is when the crank up the potluck dinners, pack a pew night, a special night each for the children and for the youth (and the service is in no way geared towards either age group).  The church is encouraged to invite all their "lost" friends.  I guess I would be more comfortable if they called it something other than a revival.

You can't revive someone who has not been vived.

The other problem is the fact that most churches that hold these meeting do so twice a year.  They put it on the calendar and since it is there they do it.  Many times without even seeking God's will on the matter.  So the church finds another pastor from another church to come in and preach, a hired gun, or they bring back the evangelist that preaches so passionately.  When asked why they hold these revivals the answer is, "because we do every year."  Is that a good reason? 

You can't calendar revival.  Revival is a God thing. 

I got an e-mail from a church in our area; I somehow have ended up on their bulk e-mail list, reminding me that if I missed the revival to make sure I come tonight.  This is another problem; churches feel such a compelling to pack their auditoriums with people that they invite all the other believers in the area from other churches.  What about focusing on your church's spiritual health?  There are times when "family meetings" need to be just for family (pickin up what I'm layin down) Is this local church having revival?  Time will tell and the proof is in the pudding.

Spiritual health takes work and balance; a series of evangelistic meetings won't necessarily accomplish that purpose. 

Next month I will have been at NHC for 7 years.  In those 7 years we have not had one "revival" service, but I have seen revival in the hearts and lives of God's people.  I have seen a church that is striving to be spiritually healthy.  I have seen the church grow as believers turn back to God and as spiritual babies are born.  Have we had special times?  Yes.  Each time we do a 40 days period focused on spiritual growth, reaching the community or like the one we are in right now, prayer, our church grows healthier and numerically.  God blesses a group of people who have a desire to be spiritually healthy.  The goal of spiritual health will accomplish much more in the lives of believers and a community than a calendared event of 4 nights (what happened to the good old 7 day revival services?).

Focusing on spiritual health has a huge impact in the life of believers and doesn't happen overnight or in a 4-day series of service.

By the way the church I mentioned, the one where I was drug to the revival services for a month, no longer exists.  Apparently even calendaring a month of revival services didn't bring about spiritual health to that church.

Do I believe God can impact an individual's life in a "revival"?  Yes.  Do I believe that God can work in the life of a church in a "revival"?  Yes, God can do whatever God wants to do because he is God.  Have I ever seen this personally?  No.  Have I seen purposeful and intentional focus on building spiritual health in a church over a period of years make a difference and impact in the life of a church?  Yes, just come hang with us at NHC for a while and you will see.  Are we a perfect church?  No, because I'm a member of the church. 

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Contagious Tonight

Ocean - small waves, 75 degree water
Sand - sandy
Food - BBQ, beans, cole slaw (oh yeah, we broke from the usual hot dog routine tonight)
Youth Team - All present and ready to roll.  Looking forward to some new team members joining      us soon!
Family Groups - New school year and tonight we started our new groups
Lesson - Holiness of God, Isaiah 6:1-8
Students - a bunch of them and several guests.

We had a blast in the ocean tonight and hanging out on the beach.  We shared the beach tonight with Church of the OBX, they were holding a celebration for the latest crew to go through Noah Snyder's boot camp.  So between both groups we took up a pretty good chunk of the Bonnet St. access.

Can anyone serve? Part 6

Can anyone serve?  Not on the youth ministry team of NHC.  We want to get to know the person first.  In today's times we must protect children and teens.  Church needs to be a safe place free from predators.  Unfortunately in some churches this hasn't been the case.  We, at NHC, will do everything we can to make it hard for a predator to become part of a team that works with children.  Beyond that we want to do our best to put someone into the youth ministry team that fits, we want the ministry to be part of their shape.

The result of the process of application, background checks, commitment to values and expectations is a team of highly committed adults who want to make an impact on student's lives.  

We also have a very low turnover rate.  It is rare when someone leaves our team.  Some of our team members have been on the team for several years now.  Longevity on the team is another huge benefit in youth ministry.  When a church goes through youth pastors like a kid goes through candy in a PEZ dispenser there is a negative impact on the students.  When there is longevity and the youth pastor is around for several years there is a huge positive impact on a student's lives.  Imagine having the same youth pastor from the time you were in the 6th grade until you graduate high school.  Same principle applies to youth ministry team members. Think about the impact on a student's life when they have had the same family group leader for 4 or 5, even 7 years.  (it doesn't hurt that I bribe team members with food)

What plan does your youth ministry have in place for moving members into ministry?

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Team Contagious

Team Contagious
Today we participated in the Great Strides Walk for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.  The OBX walk today raised over $40,000.00!

Me and the Rita's mascot.  Love that Italian ice!  Two of my other favorites provided food today for the walk, Slice Pizza and the Butcher Block.  There were bunches of others listed here.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Great Strides Walk on Saturday

Tomorrow I participate in Great Strides, a walk to raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.  I am just at 40% of my goal.  If you would like to help me reach my goal then Click Here to Help.

I promise I'll walk the entire walk and won't even eat any twinkies or snack food on the walk!

My team is ready to roll with our sweet team shirts.  I think we have 18 on Team Contagious Youth.  Now to come up with a team cheer. . . .

Can anyone serve? Part 5

In Part 1 I mentioned the fact that NHC has high expectations.  It is very frustrating not knowing what is expected from you in a job whether it is your paid job or in a volunteer position.  Because ministry is done mostly by volunteers should we expect less?  I don't think so.  When the bar is raised we will rise to meet the bar.  High expectations and job descriptions help weed out those who are just looking for "something" to do so they can say they serve.  

A few years ago our team came up with our values and expectations.  This list is a reminder as to what we are committing to when we join the youth ministry team (same values for our nursery and children's teams as well).

from our youth ministry handbook:

Values and Expectations

Our Team's Values and Expectations:

1.  Know Jesus as their Savior

2.  Be striving daily to grow in their walk with Him

3.  Be consistent in Bible study, scripture memorization, and prayer

4.  Maintain a consistent Christian testimony

5.  Be a member of NHC

6.  Have completed or be working towards completion of NHCU within a year’s time.

7.  Be a team player remembering: It’s not about me and working together in unity

8.  Pray for the church, it’s leaders, fellow team members and students

9.  Be faithful and consistent in church attendance (family included)

10.  Be faithful in duties on the youth ministry team and if for some reason will be gone or absent will let Andy know and will help in finding a qualified substitute.

11.  Be supportive of NHC and its vision and purpose and doctrine and leadership.

12.  Be flexible and have a servant’s heart

13.  Be committed to what you have committed to

14.  Attend CREST and team meetings

Thursday, September 11, 2008

September 11

In 2001 I was sitting with my family in Weekend at Burnie's beach house.  We had flown out from Oklahoma to be interviewed at NHC.  I won't forget that day, the images, the video footage and the lives that were lost that day.  Probably the biggest tragedy that I can think of in my lifetime here in the USA.

How do you help your children to deal with tragedy?  

Tips for Helping Kids Survive Tragedy
Author:Jim Burns, Ph.D.

When tragedy strikes, children respond in a variety of different ways.

Whether the “crisis” is real or merely felt, kids have a way of processing pain and trauma that is often quite different than adults.

So what’s a parent to do?

Well, if your child has experienced any sort of loss, it’s important to help that child through the grieving process. True, there’s a big difference between being jilted by a boyfriend or girlfriend and sorting out feelings after an attack like Columbine or 9-11. But the process itself remains fairly consistent.  (Read More Here)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Can anyone serve? Part 4

All of our youth ministry team members must first fill out an application for the team as well as an agreement form for a background check. (we use Group's Volunteer Central for the background checks)

from our youth ministry team handbook:

Success of the Team

The success of the team depends on us the players fulfilling our roles on the team as well as looking out for the team as a whole.

Team Positions

Kitchen Crew 

Expectations: Serve each Sunday night during Hang Time.  Set up and prep the snack food for the night.  Be ready to roll by 5:55.  Pack up the snacks at 6:50.  Do a quick clean up of the lobby and balcony area.  Place the trash bags outside the door and recruit a couple of students to throw them in the dumpster following youth group.  This team position requires 1.5 to 2 hours per week and the occasional shopping trip during the week.  Kitchen Crew is expected to work together in planning, shopping, prepping and serving the snacks. 

Look for opportunities while serving to get to know students and talk with them, find out how their weekend went for them and what they have coming up at school, vacation, etc.  Build relationships.

Kitchen Crew  must be a partner of NHC and working on completing NHCU classes within a year of joining the youth ministry team.

Support Staff 

Expectations:  Setting up the auditorium for youth group and packing up following youth group.  Making sure the auditorium is ready for the following Sunday’s worship gatherings.  Support staff will recruit students each week to help with the set up and clean up.  This gives the support staff an opportunity to teach students about ministry, serving others, as well as a chance to invest in student’s lives.  It is not “grunt” work, it is ministry!  Involve the students.

Look for opportunities while serving to get to know students and talk with them, find out how their weekend went for them and what they have coming up at school, vacation, etc.  Build relationships.

Support staff must be a partner of NHC and working on completing NHCU classes within a year of joining the youth ministry team.

Family Group Leaders

Expectations:  Arrive at NHC for youth group at 5:45 for team meeting and prayer.  Hang out with students during Hang Time, not with the adults.  Use Hang Time to invest in student’s lives.  Gather family group together at family group table at 7:00 for the Bible study.  Lead in the discussion time and prayer time with the family group.  Use prep material if emailed earlier in the week.  Hang out after youth group while students are getting picked up.  This is a safety measure and gives further opportunity to build relationships.   Check e-mail for weekly updates, check often.  

Make sure that absent family group members are contacted by other students from the family group during the week following.  

Contact each family group member at least once a month either by e-mail, telephone, facebook, in person (outside of youth group), at games, post card, etc…

Pray daily for students in the family group.  Keep up with their spiritual needs and be their shepherd by caring for them, protecting them and providing the support they might need.  Convey to Andy any info about the student that you think he might need know.

Look for opportunities outside of the youth group gathering to hang out with students.  Participate in monthly youth group events and activities when possible.

Family Group Leaders must be partners of NHC who have completed Discovering the Basics with Pastor Steve.

Time required in this position will be around 2.5 or more hours a week depending on events, activities, contacts etc…  Of all the team positions this will require the most time and effort.  

Admin Support Staff

Expectations:  Assist with organizing data base information, event registrations, publicity of events.

Support staff will also help with organizing events as needed.

Admin Support Staff must be partners of NHC and working towards completing the NHCU classes within a year of joining the youth ministry team.

This team position is the only one that won’t involved directly working with the students.  The time involved in this position will vary depending upon needs.  This is the most flexible team position and would be good for someone who wants to serve in the youth ministry but not necessarily work directly with students.

Event Support Staff

Expectations:  Event Staff must be partners of NHC and working towards completing the NHCU classes within a year of joining the youth ministry team.

Event Support is not a weekly ministry position but will serve when there is an event or activity such as being a driver (good driving record required), chaperone, set up and clean up, etc.  Examples of events are The Call, Winterfest, local trips like bowling, putt-putt, camping trips, etc.

Time requirements will vary according to the event or activity.  

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Refuge 08 Day Two

Today's sessions were awesome.    Randy Hall the head honcho from Student Life spoke this morning on the great commission.  Calling us to remember the verses in Matthew 28:18-20.

Some things Randy gave us to chew on:
Definition of youth ministry:
Helping teenagers become like Jesus Christ
-begin a relationship with Jesus Christ
-Grow spiritually
-Know the story of the Bible
-Know what you believe
-Take positions of leadership
-Opportunities to serve
-Stay in their faith
-Develop spiritual intimacy
While we do our best to become like Christ.

Tonight Dave Platt spoke.
Things Dave gave us to chew on:
The two non-negotiables in ministry
1.  Unwavering confidence in  the Gospel
2.  Undying commitment to the commission

Dave then quoted Romans chapters 1 through 8, yes I said quote.  He then challenged us with this:  If we believe Romans 1-8 then we have to believe chapter 9 verses 1-5.  
Paul was willing to sacrifice it all to reach his brothers.  Am I willing to do what Paul suggests in Romans 9:1-5?

Much to think about.  

Kristian Stanfill led worship in music today and did an awesome job of leading worship.  Kristian has lots of energy and throws up the rock fist often.  His keyboard player was one happy dude dancing around behind the keyboards.

Got to go to Student Life's headquarters this afternoon and see the "behind the scenes".  It was really interesting to see what goes into pulling off what they do in ministry.  SL knocks the ball out of the park and their staff is the best.  This whole Refuge was free to us as youth leaders and SL didn't give one commercial or try to promote themselves or their resources.  SL just simply wanted to minister to us.  These two days have been an incredible blessing to me and I'm thankful to God for Student Life and look forward to a continued relationship with them.

I go to sleep tonight with the lyrics of one of Kristian's songs on my mind:
I need clean hands
I can't you can
I need you Jesus

Refuge 08

Student Life started out as a camp ministry operating camps.  They have grown incredibly over the past several years.  They now hold camps all over the United States and in Ukraine.  Each spring they also host several student conferences as well as having a couple of ski retreats each winter.  In the past few years they have begun to publish curriculum to be used for students in Sunday School or small groups and recently started publishing adult curriculum.

Last spring Student Life invited youth pastors who participate in their camps or conferences to come here to Birmingham to participate in a two day retreat for youth pastors.  The cool dealio is the fact that they are hosting this event and charged us as youth pastors $0.00.  FREEEEEE!
All we had to do was get here and get a hotel.

Last night was our first session that lasted well over an hour past schedule.  Some girl came out and played the guitar and sang a song, no clue who she was they didn't announce her, the song was great.  Then Chris Tomlin came out with just his guitar player and keyboard player, no flashy lights, no drums or bass, and led us in worship in song.  Chris even had them take his image off the big screens and only put up the lyrics (they weren't needed either, even on his new stuff).  The worship in music was awesome.  Then Louie Giglio came out and talked about grace.  That was awesome as well and addressed a few issues I have struggled with in my life and sometimes even struggle with.  He spoke from 2 Corinthians 5:21 and awesome verse and chapter to study when thinking about grace.   From there we went back to more worship in music with Chris and it was an incredible time.  

Louie asked the question that students often ask after camp, "Why can't our church worship be like worship at camp?"  Hmmmm . . . . . something to think about.

The cool deal is the fact that Student Life did not promote any of their products or camps, there were no commercials.  Student Life just wants to minister to us youth pastors.  An added bonus that Chris Tomlin and SL gave us all copies of his new album.  SWEET!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Refuge 08 Day Uno

Can anyone serve? Part 3

from our youth minsitry team handbook:


As we minister to students we need to realize that the we make the biggest impact on their lives as we invest in their lives and that sort of investment takes time.

  • Look for opportunities to:
  • Attend student’s athletic events
  • Attend student’s recitals and concerts
  • Hang out with students during Hang Time
  • Go on youth trips and events with the students
  • Have some students over to eat or go with them to a movie or out to eat or shopping. 
  • Sit with them at a worship gathering on Sunday

When we do the opportunities listed above it makes a huge impact on the students.  It’s amazing the impact on a student’s life when they know you took time out of your life to cheer them on in the stands or play a game of Skip Bo or Apples to Apples with them.  

Some students that attend Contagious Youth and become part of our youth group and ministry do not have Christian adults at home to model the life of a Christian for them so the students will look to us.

to be continued. . .

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Team Hits a Home Run

How do you know your church's children's ministry is hitting it out of the park?

When your 4 year old son asks, "Can we go to church now?"  at 1:30, just an hour and a half after he left church.

NHC's CM team is hitting home runs week after week.  If they were a baseball team they would have the World Series  in the bag.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Happy Youth Worker Appreciation Day

Can anyone serve? Part 2

Part 1

from our youth ministry team handbook:

The Team Approach

It is impossible for one person to adequately minister to the needs of all the students.  When a partner joins the youth ministry team they become a youth minister.  Andy is not the youth minister he is one of the youth ministers at NHC.  Every partner is a minister at NHC and every member of the youth ministry team is a minister to the students.

Ministry happens with students as we build relationships with them and invest in their lives.  Students need caring adults, outside of the home, to invest into their lives to help them to grow and mature as a person but most importantly in their faith.  We the youth ministry team become the models of faith lived out for these students.  

With this ministry comes tremendous responsibility.   To live life in such a way that these students see the love of Christ and to see that we are actively growing in our own faith is of upmost importance.

Each member of the youth ministry team has a responsibility not only to the students but to the other team members.  Just like on an athletic team we are counting on each player to do their part.  The expectations are high but so is what is at stake, impacting student’s lives for Christ.

Friday, September 5, 2008

The Pie

Our Tropical Storm Hannah supper menu:
Frijoles Refritos
Chilpotle Chicken Soft Tacos (my own secret recipe, don't ask)

Sitting on the counter beckoning me is the pie.  Someone gave us a bunch apples fresh from the orchard.  This is our second pie this week.  Life is good!

Notice the intricate detailing on the leaves and lattice.
Soon that will be in my belly.

Notice the very happy youth pastor.
Now I need to go make the DD decaf to go with.
More tropical storm fun to come!

Tropical Storm Hannah Family Fun Day

So we went to Wal-Mart.  I dropped the family off at the door and then waded through the water in the parking lot.  The water came up over my flip flops, bummer.  Picked up a few household items and pre-school supplies.  Then drove over to the Home Depot.  Dropped the family off under the covered loading area.  I then waded through the parking lot.  The water came up over my flop flops again, bummer.  Looked at wood.  Looked at emergency radio - too much money.  

Drove back home, unloaded our goods.  I rolled out the workhorse generator.  Filled up the tank.  Turned the switch to on, that is an important step I figured out the first time I used it.  I then pulled the rope and it cranked up on the first pull.  Generator check is complete and I'm now waiting for the rain to let up so I can go fill up the two 5 gallon gas cans.

Bummed that the big game for tonight has been postponed to Monday.

My spousal unit is starting the prep work to bake an apple pie!  Yummo!  If the oven goes out while the pie is baking it's okay, we have the workhorse generator.   Her third apple bake-o-rama this week!

This evening we shall watch movies, if the satellite goes out we will watch movies we have recorded on the DVR or some DVD's.   While we watch movies we will eat pie. 

Supper - I'm thinking chicken soft tacos!   

Just saw that Hannah is now clocking winds at 70 mph and may be a cat 1 hurricane before making landfall.   If the power goes out tonight I will put a window unit A/C in the room and hook it up to the generator so I can sleep in my usual 70 degree bedroom.

More Hannah updates later and if it really starts blowing I may run a ustream video just for fun.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Can anyone serve? Part 1

I remember my first Sunday at a small church in Lamont, Oklahoma.  The pastor was so excited that we had moved to town.  He assumed that because we had come from Christian college that we were ready to take on a ministry.  He asked me if I could lead the music.  Ha!  I'm a drummer not a singer.  Then he asked me if I would teach youth Sunday school.  I replied, "Teenagers are punks.  No."  

The point is that some churches will jump on the fresh meat as soon as it walks through the door.  Usually it is the pastor or ministry leader because they are pulling their hair out to get their members to get off the pew to do ministry.  Is it wise to grab someone you don't really know and try to plug him or her into a ministry?  No way!  God has shaped each one of us and has given us gifts and talents and personalities to be used by Him to minister in the church.  

I love the fact that at Nags Head Church we stress that every partner is a minister.  Somehow over the years the church has been swayed into thinking that ministry is for the professionals, the ones that get paid to do it.  Not the case at NHC.  We are a freak of nature when it comes to church life. Almost every one of our partners is part of a ministry team.  The percentage is mind-boggling.  How did that happen?  This amazing stat is the result of years of Biblical teaching about ministry and high expectations on our partners.

Who do you turn loose in your student ministry?  Can anyone just walk in the door and start serving?

To Be Continued. . .

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

If you are involved in ministry. . .

Good stuff from Josh Griffin's blog:

We’ve just finished the summer of what Kurt (Saddleback’s Student Ministries Pastor) has called “tree lot” season. The temporary but extremely busy season of ministry where you’ve got to get the trees out the door before Christmas arrives. And as that is coming to an end - we’re really gearing up for a Fall of the same: fast-paced, high-expectation ministry. In essence, we just got another shipment of trees to last us until Christmas and it is time to go at it again.

Here’s 4 assumptions I asked our teams to make during the next 4 months of ministry:  (Read More)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

"No Youth Ministry"

What do you do as a parent when your church has “no youth ministry”?   I’ve heard this often from parents; “our church has nothing for youth”.  I have also had students tell me about their church and how there is nothing at their church in the way of a youth group.  So what do you do as a parent?  Please comment on this, I’d like some information to help me when I talk with parents or teens in this situation.

I would think that as a parent I would want my teenager to enjoy church and be part of a youth ministry that helps me, as a parent, to disciple my teen.  My line of thinking is this, if church is a boring experience for a teen why in the world would they continue to attend church after graduating and moving out?  I would also want my teen to be place in a youth group environment so that they can have a chance to form connections with other believers their age.  I remember talking with a student a few summers ago at a camp and he told me that he was it, he was the only teen in the church and that he didn’t like it.  You might respond and say, “Well then bring your friends!”  Why would a teen want to bring his friends to a “funeral home”?  I have also talked with many people who consider elementary students as part of the “youth”. 

Some thoughts:

  1. As a concerned parent be the catalyst to get a youth ministry team going in your church to minister to the students.  Gather parents, concerned adults, and students together to brainstorm.  Clearly define youth ministry as for middle and high school students.  
  2. Decide what is important to you as a family.  Is an active children’s and youth ministry important to you as a parent? 
  3. Make sure you are where God wants you.  If you are, then do step 1, if not, find the church God wants you to be a part of and make sure there is a healthy youth ministry there that assists you in discipling your teen.
  4. Talk with your teen about your church.  Get his or her thoughts or opinions and input.  If he or she says that church is “boring” find out why they consider it boring.  It doesn’t mean that they are backslidden if they think it is boring.  It very well might be boring to a teen.  Share concerns with your pastor.

Parents, ultimately, God holds us accountable for the discipling of our children.  What do you do as a parent when your church has “no youth ministry”?

Made the Top 40 Youth Ministry Blogs

My blog made #30 out of the top 40 youth ministry blogs according to I don't know what that means but "thanks!&quo...