Friday, October 31, 2008

Trunk Or Treat 08

Trunk or Treat 08 is over and was bigger than ever.  Now to plan for ToT 09. . .

Tonight we saw around 1,000 children come through and they were loaded with candy.  We gave out several hundred pounds of candy.
The inflatable games were a blast and they were huge.
We ran out of the popcorn about an hour or so into the night (note to self - order more popcorn)
We gave out around 300 bags and cones of cotton candy.  (order more cotton candy)
I saw many sipping on cups of hot coffee and hot chocolate.
Boars Head was serving up the hot dogs.  (thanks Fred Flintstone)
The traffic team was working hard directing the hundreds of cars that came through tonight.
The trunks were great.  I saw several that were fantastic and it would have been hard to pick a winner this year.  A few of my favorites:
The Penguin family complete with infant penguin.
The Men in Black family complete with infant alien.
Aunt Jemima and her pancake.  (Mark was a good Aunt J.  Sue was a great short stack)
Shreck and Fiona were quite green.
Cat in the hat was popular this year.
We were fair and balanced with both Obama and McCain there and even Sarah Palin paid a visit.

The ToT team did an incredible job, I'm not sure of the count tonight but I think we had at least 80 from our church helping pull of this most excellent bridging event.  All the teams did the great job.  Now it's time to evaluate and adjust.  Wonder if there is any candy left in the house?

Evaluate and Adjust, Evaluate and Adjust

Seven years ago NHC had a "Harvest Party" at the church for the children.  The children would come in their costumes eat some junk food, hear a Bible story, and play some games.  The only children that attended were our usual crowd of 15 or so from Sunday morning.  Six years ago was my second year at NHC and we did the Harvest Party again and I quickly realized the event did not fit with the purpose of our church.   We did some evaluation and made an adjustment.

The next year we started Trunk or Treat at NHC.  We put up a few posters and had around 100 show up for Trunk or Treat.  The Harvest Party was typical of a small church with no desire to grow.  Trunk or Treat screamed "reach the community".  The Harvest Party was not a quality event that would draw people in.   We evaluated Trunk or Treat and made adjustments.

Each year Trunk or Treat has grown and each year we made adjustments.  Last year we made the adjustment of really promoting the event, we were even able to send TOT cards home with kids in our local schools.  We added hot dogs, popcorn, cotton candy and hot chocolate and games with prizes and made the event more of a fair atmosphere.  Over 1,000 attended!  Each child got a gospel tract in their candy bag and each parent went home with the Purpose Driven life booklet.  We evaluated because with that many people traffic flow was tricky to say the least since our parking lot is no where big enough for that size of crowd.  We have also added more inflatable games.  Our auditorium has been cleared out and will be set up with lots of games and prizes, the goal, besides giving the kids a fun time, is to get people to simply walk through the doors of the church.  We will have Kidmo playing on the big screen and music in the background.

Tonight is Trunk Or Treat. I'm about to head out the door and spend my day with volunteers who will be dropping in setting up for this now huge event.  It's going to be a fun day and I look forward to watching Trunk or Treat unfold tonight and see what sort of crowd we attract.  I hear that Elvis may even be spotted in the crowd.  After ToT is all cleaned up and packed up we will evaluate and adjust again.  Anything we do in the church should be evaluated often to make sure we are hitting our target, accomplishing our goal, carrying out our purpose.  This may mean killing off some sacred cow programs.  Have a safe night!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Please Pray

My brother Mark had a heart attack last night and is in the hospital.
Your prayers for him would and his family would be appreciated.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

My Focus

Something I learned as a young driver is the fact that I drive where I look.  If I focus on something on the side of the road then that is the direction the car will drift.  I also learned in driving a tractor that if I'm not focused on the other end of the field I'm plowing then my rows tend to get a little lob-lolly and then when I look back I can see exactly where I lost focus.

Peter had his focus right where it should have been.  He was focusing on Jesus, of course who wouldn't find it easy to focus on someone walking towards you in the middle of the night on the water?  That would surely get my attention.

It is very easy for my focus to shift and then when it shifts my life goes off the direction that God would want me to go.  My relationship with Christ, as a believer, should be my focus. Problem is I get off track very easily.   

Peter took his focus off of Jesus and put his focus on his current circumstances.  The moment Peter did that is the moment Peter began to sink.  It is so easy to move my focus from Christ and put my focus on my current circumstances, whether the circumstances are good or bad. 

Sometimes I find that ministry is where I focus.  Ministry is great!  Ministry is what we are all called to do, serve others with the love of Christ.  When ministry becomes my focus rather than Jesus Christ this is when I begin to sink.

When ministry gets my focus rather than focusing on Jesus Christ does ministry then become my god?
When you focus on ____________ rather than focusing on Jesus Christ does __________ become your god?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Staying Ahead

I recently wrote a post about growing your team ahead of the growth of the youth group.  I recognize the need to have more team members than you need to make sure you can adequately minister to student's as a team.  

At the time of writing the first post our team was in need in of two men to join our team.  Since the beginning of summer our team has grown by adding two new ladies and two new men to be family group (table) leaders.  We also added two new kitchen queens to the team, these ladies are vital to the success of Hang Time as they prepare the goodies we put in our bellies.

I'm still convinced that if I am going to pray that God would grow our youth group then I need to stay ahead of the growth.  So where do we stand now?  Right now we are at the exact number of YM team members for our current need and numbers.  So this means that I am, as the team leader, on the prowl for 4 more team members, two men and two ladies.  The goal is to get them into place with another family group leader so they can learn how to lead and then as a group grows we can multiply that group by sending some of the students to another table with their new leader.

This whole idea is true for any youth ministry even if you don't go family or table groups.  If you have decided the ratio for your group to be one adult to ten students then you should staff ahead of the growth as well, especially if you are asking God to grow the youth group.  On a side note I like the ratio of 1 to 8, I think the lower number makes shepherding  group of students easier, especially if you are going to truly shepherd them and build those super important relationships.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Trunk Or Treat Commercial

Hey man, check this video out.

Northwest River Adventure

We returned this evening from the NW River Adventure.  A fun time was had by all.
We arrived shortly after noon and quickly commenced to cooking lunch.  There is a screened in group pavilion with a huge fireplace on one end.  This is where we set up the "kitchen".  
The pavilion was used for many games of chess and a few other games as well as our Bible study last night.  We kept a fire cranking in the fireplace pretty much the whole time.  Last night we got the fire going in the fire pit near our tents and ate smores.  My smore's mallow was toasted to perfection and the gooey goodness oozed out when I took a bite.  We also kept a big percolator cranking out the hot water for hot chocolate.
The students played some man hunt and had fun running around the campground.  We basically had the place to ourselves.
Most everyone slept well in sleeping bags, only a few comments on the cold temps last night.

This morning was mountain man breakfast, a traditional favorite.  Here's the recipe to feed 30:
  • Chop up 2lbs of bacon and fry it up.  Reserve the grease as a "marinade" ;)
  • Brown 1lb of sausage
  • In some of the bacon grease cook 2 bags of potatoes O'brian.
  • Crack 3 dozen eggs and add a little milk 
  • Pour the "marinade" into the pot and scramble the eggs
  • As the eggs get close to getting done dump in the potatoes, bacon, sausage
  • Stir in 2 packs of shredded cheddar
  • Serve up on 60 tortillas
Today was spent running around the campground and playing farkle and then packing up the tents.  

The night of tent sleeping was fun but I certainly look forward to sleeping in my king size bed tonight in a heated house.  Picture will be posted soon.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Planning a camping trip (Updated)

Northwest River Adventure happens this weekend.  To pull off a camping trip with students takes a little bit of planning.  Here are a few steps we took in our planning process:

Purpose: Fellowship 
Decide what the purpose of the event is first.  If the event has no purpose you are better off not having the event.  The purpose behind NR Adventure is for students to have some time away and be placed in a setting that will help them form bonds and build relationships with other students.

Date: October 26-27
Make sure your calendar isn't overloaded with activities.  We do about one a month and some months we don't have an event or activity.  Check the school calendar and look for a long weekend if doing a camping trip during the fall or spring semester.  It's too hot here in the summer to do a tent camping trip.

Location:  Northwest River Campground
After choosing a date find a location that is doable from your location.  If you are going on a one or two night camping trip you don't want to travel more than 1 to 2 hours from home.  If your trip is longer you can travel farther.  Pick a location that has space for large group camping because you want your group all camping in the same location.

Cost: $10
Contact the campground and get the prices for the space you will need.  We reserved 4 large group tent areas and the screened in pavilion with a fireplace.  Take the cost of the camping fees and divide it by the estimated number of students you will take camping.  We are pitching in some from our youth budget to offset the expense keeping in mind the present state of our economy. 

Enlist Adults
Before even publicizing an event it would be a wise move to have the team in place needed to pull off the event.  I learned this the hard way last year on our spring retreat.  I also hear stories of a lone youth leader taking kids on a retreat or event, that is edging very close to danger.  You should always have at least one another adult involved for liability reasons.  "What if I can't get volunteers?"  Then don't do events then when parents or the church begin to question why there are no events or activities for the youth you can share that there is no one volunteering to help.  Of course volunteers don't magically appear they need to be invited to be part of a fantastic ministry opportunity.  Our camping trip has 21 students going and 7 adults, 3 men, 4 women, that is a really, really good ratio.  I would never do an overnight event without at least 2 men and 2 ladies on the team, I think one to ten is good ratio.  It's not wise for a husband/wife team to be the only adults either, have at least a third adult there.

Registration Deadline: October 19
Set a registration deadline and stick to it.  For a camping trip you need to know how many you are feeding and sleeping in tents a week before to give adequate time to get prepared, two weeks would be even better.  If you set a deadline and then always flex and give in and let students in at the last minute you will struggle with deadlines forever in youth ministry.  We don't use sign up sheets.  They are registered when we have their non-refundable deposit or registration fee.  This approach helps with the ones that teeter on dropping out and then the domino effect it has on their friends.  Medical releases are also required for any overnight trip.

Food: Students bringing the food
We made our camping trip fee low on purpose and then are having each student bring a couple of the food items needed for the trip.  Other approaches we have used in the past: charge more and buy the food (a good one), Food sign up sheet (allows other church folks to get involved).  The registration deadline helps you know how much food you need.  We are going simple: chili dogs, stew, Mountain Man Breakfast, PB & J  sandwiches.

Equipment: Stuff we need to pull of the trip
Transportation, tents, cooking equipment, first aid kit, firewood, Coffee, games (we plan on playing lots of table games by the fireplace in the screened in pavilion).  Students are responsible for their own sleeping bags, toiletries, etc.

Schedule: Flexible
Some events require a rigid set schedule, some don't.  This event about the only thing we are "set" on is our departure and return times.  We plan on being flexible.  The overnight trip will involved, time setting up tents, playing lots of table games, sitting around the fire, one devotion and one quiet time,  hiking and meals.   If this were our spring retreat there would be more of a set schedule.  Part of the purpose of this overnight retreat is to simply give the students a chance to unwind and relax, no busyness, or hectic pace.

Our Understanding: Rules (no one likes that word)
No one is ever alone.  No electronics/cell phones/mp3 players,etc.  No guy and girl alone together at any point in time.  Be on time for meals, help clean up.  Look for opportunities to help.  Let an adult know if you are going off  somewhere in the campground and where you will be.  Rule of Thumb - "if you have to wonder if you will get in trouble or not then don't do it."  Don't play in the fire.  Keep tent zipped up.   Don't feed the bears or pet the deer.  Wear deodorant.  (if I confiscate a cell phone or mp3 player etc. the student will not go on the next overnight trip) No going into the tent of the opposite sex.  No food or drinks in tents (We had some serious raccoon problems once when a girl ignored the rule, raccoons love Oreos and one coon was as big as a german shepherd.  Another girl was stung by a bee because they left their tent unzipped and an open can of coke which attracted bees).

Packing: Saturday, October 25 (this is the updated part)
Today I have been busy since about 10 packing and loading.  Two things I thought of as I worked my backside off: (it's now 3:00)
1.  use this as an opportunity to enlist some youth to help and build relationships in the process.  A "no brainer" but I thought about it too late.  What does that say? hmmmm
2.  Plastic tubs and lots of them.  I loaded all the paper goods in one tube, all the bread  in another, etc...  How did we survive before plastic totes and tubs?  Invest in the tubs!

In my research this week for looking for an extra tent I discovered that Coleman has a program for non-profits and you can buy tents and camping equipment directly from them and some for more than $100 less then they sell for in the store and it is free to join.  If a camping trip is something you would do as a youth group on an annual basis it would be wise to invest in  some quality, big tents from Coleman.   I learned the hard way that borrowing tents isn't good.  You can quickly ruin a tent or get there to set up and be missing some vital parts to the tent.
Enjoy the woods!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Brittany is Back

Center for Parent/Youth Understanding has an eye opening post on Britney Spears' latest music comeback, you can read a good blog post from Walt Mueller  here , also Walt has done a review of the song.  Britney's newest video skyrocketed from #96 on the Billboard to #1 immediately and I don't think it was her singing skills that accomplished this for her.

I post this link to CPYU's web site for two reasons:
1.   It is a good site for resources on the youth culture.
2.  I want parents to know what  teens are watching on TV in case there are a few other channels that parents may want to block. :)
Music videos have always pushed the envelope and I think Spears'  latest video has even pushed that further.

With teenage boys hormones in a rage the last thing they need is this image of Britney burnt into their minds . . . "Oh be careful little eyes what you see."

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Truth is Out There

With the release of the British X Files (confidential UFO files released this week) I feel the need to come clean and share my two close encounters.  Were they aliens?   I do know they were UFOs.

In 1986 I woke up in the middle of the night and had a little insomnia.  I walked out on the front porch to get a little fresh Lynchburg, Va air.  I looked up and noticed a very clear and starry sky.  As I looked at the night sky I saw a ball of light.  The light was flying up, down and across in a figure 4 pattern. The UFO did this over and over again and then disappeared.  It was not an airplane, I know how to recognize airplane lights, it was not a helicopter either.  What was it?  It was an unidentified flying object.  

You may think I'm crazy and so would I if this only happened once.  

In the early 90's living in Oklahoma I woke up in the middle of the night and went to the little boy's room.  I looked out the window in the bathroom and what did I see?  The same sphere of light again.  The sphere this time was flying the same figure 4 pattern.  Now in the past I had shared my UFO story with my lovely wife and she thought I was cooky.  This time I woke her up and got her out of the bed and took her to the window to watch the sphere of light.  We both watched the light and then it disappeared.  Now I'm not cooky because I had a witness.  Believe me if it wasn't real I would never have woke my lovely wife up and got her out of the bed in the middle of the night, that would not be the actions of the smart husband that I am.

The truth is out there.  Next time you wake up in the middle of the night you may want to take a look out your window.

While on vacation in Florida I think I did spot an alien. . . .

Last Night at Contagious

Much Farkle and ping pong happening last night as students and the YM team hung out in the lobby and up on the balcony playing games together during Hang Time.  Our kitchen queens were busy cranking out the snacks.  I'm not sure how many bags of chips and popcorn were consumed but I do know that the Oreos numbered in the hundreds.  I took a peak at one student's plate and there were at least 20 Oreos.  Hang Time was mucho fun last night.

Last night our students set a goal to have 65 students at youth group in two weeks.  I noticed yesterday during our worship gatherings that there were several students attending Sunday morning but not involved in youth group.  I encouraged our students to look around on Sunday morning and invite these students to join them at Contagious on Sunday evenings.

We continued our study, Welcome to the Planet:  Why on earth am I here?"
Last night focused in on the fact that we were created for God's pleasure.
Worship = what we value, idolize, and honor.
Three tests to figure out what you worship = time, money, and thoughts.

1.  What is worship?  
Giving God Worth 
Giving God Focus 
Getting God's Strength

2.  Why honor God?
To Experience God Personally
To Have Your Heart Changed 

3.  How to Honor God?
Give God Your Love 
Give God Your Praise
Give God Your Devotion

If you like more info about this series or how you can use this curriculum, and others like it, in your youth ministry simply click on the blue SYM box at the top of my sidebar.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Great Friday Night

Tonight was a wet night for the Manteo Redskins homecoming game.  I got to ride in the homecoming parade which I'm sure was a highlight for everyone that attended the parade.  Thanks Coach for taking me along for the ride.

After the parade we had the team supper and it was some kinda good.  Prime rib sandwiches and mac and cheese.  It is an interesting experience because the whole meal is eaten in total silence as the team focuses on the game.

After the meal I led the devotion time for the players who choose to participate.  Tonight I shared the event from the life of Peter as he walked on water and talked about focus in life and how we should focus on our relationship with Jesus Christ.

Then I chilled in the coaches office for a while and then sat in the stands in my poncho (which I am very glad was behind the seat of my truck).  I was quite dry during the downpour.  The shame of it was that the rain hit as they were crowning the king and queen.  

Redskins won 43 to 12!

Then I come home to find out that our Trunk or Treat got some national attention.  That was a crazy surprise!

Small Groups

In the past we had small group Bible studies for our students in homes.  The purpose was to use the small group as an avenue of outreach in getting students who may not attend youth group at church to be introduced to the youth ministry/group.  After a couple of years there was almost zero growth and most groups either stayed at the same number and same students.  So the purpose was not getting accomplished so we scrapped our in home small groups.  Was this a permanent action?  Probably not.  But when something is in a rut it is better to pull back and cancel than keep on spinning your wheels in the same rut.

This year we are focusing more on students connecting through their family (table) groups on Sunday night at our weekly youth group meeting.  (We also changed youth group from Wednesday night to Sunday night this year)  So we are having small groups around round tables at youth group.  Students are in the same family group and they have the same adult leader at their table each week investing into their lives.  So we are doing small groups but with a different approach.  They have discussion time, time to play a game together and also some prayer/share time.  

Here is a good blog post for small group leaders (whatever that may look like at your church, Sunday School, in homes, or in groups at youth group) 

One of our high school guys  started a Bible study in his home, not led by an adult but student led and student initiated.  I'm excited to see this happen and look forward to watching this small group and what comes out of it.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A Day Off

Today I'm taking Wednesday off as my day off for the week.  Ever take your day off in the middle of the week?  It's sort of weird because every now and then I find myself thinking it is a Friday or a Saturday.    My whole plan for the day is to simply relax and so far I have been successful in accomplishing this.

Woke up late - Check!
Played on Facebook - Check!
Took the little man to PK - Check!
Breakfast date with my wife at the Jolly Roger - Check!
Visit the other Lawrenson house - Check!
Home Depot - Check!
Pick up squooshy boy at PK - Check!
Lay on the sofa and semi-nap through Bambi II - Check!

So far my to do list is going very well.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I needed the reminder...

. . . thought you might also.

For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."  Jeremiah 29:11

Many years ago I found myself scratching my head trying to figure out why God was allowing us to go through a storm in life.   There was a time I even got mad at God (don't freak out, He's a big God and can handle it).  I even remember going out in the woods, away from any one's ear-shot, and yelling at Him.  God knew I was in pain and hurting, God knew I didn't understand what He was up to.  It was during that time in my life that I discovered Jeremiah 29:11.  This verse was the knot in the end of my rope.  Jeremiah 29:11 is where I made the choice to truly trust God and that fact that He is sovereign and in control.

Here is the deal:  More often than not we won't know the answers to the "Why's?" until we have passed all the way through the storm or trial.  Only after passing through can we look back and see the hand of God at work.

Don't believe me?  Take a look at my son.  We wouldn't have him today if God had not allowed us to go through the storm.

So this morning I find myself asking the question once again,  "Why God?".  This morning I once again tie the knot in the end of the rope with Jeremiah 29:11.

On a side note:  We, as a church, are reading through The Purpose Driven Life.  Today was chapter two, I found this chapter fit right into what I woke up thinking about this morning.  If you have a copy of the book (if you don't, go get a copy) take some time today and read chapter 2.  If you have children in the home it would be good to have them read it with you.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Last Night at Contagious

We had a great group of students last night at Contagious.

Our Youth Ministry Team is up to the number of adults we need right now so now it is time to invite 2 more ladies and 2 more men to join the ministry team so we will be prepared for the growth.  We are up to 10 family group leaders and 3 ladies in the kitchen.  That would be an average of 1 youth minister per 6 students and that's a good ratio for now but prayerfully the group will grow over the fall semester and as it grows so will our team.

"Welcome to the Planet.  What on Earth Am I Here For?" is our current series that we kicked off last night.  Last night was the intro:
1.  You were planned for God's pleasure
2.  You were formed for God's family
3.  You were created to become like Jesus
4.  You were shaped for serving
5.  You were made for a mission

Over the next 5 weeks we will unpack each of these points and help students to discover their purpose in life.  I know when I was 16 I would have loved if someone could have laid out my purpose clearly and precisely, it would have been a huge help.

The curriculum comes with:
  • MP3's of each message
  • Outlines (including the fill in the blanks)
  • Powerpoint slides for each message
  • Promotional material
  • Powerpoint trivia games
  • Audio commentary from Doug Fields
I take the outline and make it mine by filling it in with my illustrations and commentary and adjust it to fit our youth group.  I also take some of the promo material to make the student handouts with their fill in the blank outlines.  (for more info or to purchase this curriculum or other curriculum or youth ministry helps check out Simply Youth Ministry, you can get there by clicking the blue box on the top of my sidebar)

Last night we watched the following clip from Everybody Loves Raymond:

Youth ministry first for me last night: Student brings their own snack to Hang Time - steamed oysters.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Teen Driving and Moral Behavior

I frequent Walt Mueller's blog to pick up good stuff about today's teen culture.  Today Walt posted about a new car feature coming out on Ford cars that give parents "control" over their teen's driving habits.  He relates it to the impulsivity factor.  There is a great illustration and great point in this post.

Enter today's teenage driver. The impusivity factor not only continues to exist, but is fed, fertilized, and watered by an ethical weather front that's moved into and stayed in the neighborhood. If you've been to any of my seminars you've heard me talk about postmodern amorality. I use my fist as a demonstration tool. My clenched fist represents a commonly held standard of morality. I place my other hand on that fist to represent behavior that conforms to the standard. . . . behavior that can then be labeled as "moral behavior" . . . (read more)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Who Holds Your Hand? (Bump)

I posted this shortly after the birth of Gwyneth, Happy Birthday Baby Rose!  Today is baby G's birthday and it is so awesome to get to see her grow, truly a miracle.  Today Tricia is in ICU, these times are stressing.  I ask that today you cry out to God on behalf of Tricia.  God listens to us!  That is mind boggling to me that the God who created this universe cares enough for me, loves me enough, to listen to my prayers, to your prayers.  

I wonder who holds your hand?  Who has a grasp to you during the trials and tough times that come with life?

King David was God's chosen king.  Even though David was a "man after God's own heart" David had a life full of trials, some were his own fault, most were not.

David wrote this is Psalm 10:17
You hear, O Lord, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry.

When life comes at you really hard and you hit a bumpy spot, a rough time, stop and realize that God hears your cry.  He hears your desire and brings encouragement.

We see this verse in action in the two lives that are touching in the picture above.  A child grasping the hand of her father.  A whole hand not much bigger than the end of your finger, grasping her father's hand.  Because Gwyneth grasped Nate's finger she got to touch her father for the first time.  As you read Nate's blog it is obvious that he was emotionally moved (I was simply by looking at the pictures).

How much more do you think our loving Father in heaven, God, loves for us to grasp onto His hand.  Man's hand, not much bigger than a speck in the universe, holding the almighty hand of the Creator.   We can't do that physically here on earth but we can with our faith and trust hold onto the fact that God is there for us and as Psalm 10:17 says, He listens to us.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Need To Grow Your Team

Someone told me (I haven't researched this but it sounds true to form for the Korean Church) that the church in Korea is praying that God will open the wall so they can get into North Korea and share the gospel.  Now the western church understands prayer, we pray about a lot of things but we often fail where the Korean church has stepped it up a notch.  The church in Korea isn't just praying they are currently training people to go in and share the gospel so that when the wall opens they are ready to roll and not scrambling to get a plan together.  That's putting some faith to your prayer.

I have been praying for years that God will grow our youth ministry and we have seen some growth but I believe we could see a whole lot more growth.  I participate in the Outer Banks Youth Ministry Network and so I know a rough number of how many students we are reaching here on the OBX and I know that there are thousands unreached.  So this means lots of room to grow.  I'm not a number person for number's sake, in fact I get a little uncomfortable when people from other churches ask me how many are in our youth group.  I am a numbers person because each number represents a student who is hearing how God can change their life and growing in their faith.

So if I am praying that God will grow our youth group what am I doing to prepare for that growth?  I shared this recently with our YM team and this has been a burden on my heart for quite some time.  Currently we are right at the number of ladies we need to do ministry to the students we have now and we have immediate ministry opportunities for two men to serve each week in order to minister to the guys we have now.  I am praying and seeking out four men and two ladies to join our team today for the growth of tomorrow.  I don't want to be scrambling next month trying to find youth ministers when the growth comes.  I believe they need to be in place now.  

So this is the task ahead of the YM team this fall semester.  It should be fun getting some new team mates on YM team.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Last Night at Contagious

Contagious moved back to the church last night from the beach.  We will hit the beach again next summer.  It was great to see the students and YM team hanging out on the loft and in the lobby playing games and eating nachos.  Yes, it was nacho night and they were some kind of good!

Last night we looked at God's Love, you can find our outline here.
Started off with a fun video from Student Life, Can Rush Jump It?
Followed that up with a fun Power Play game, Monster Dating from Simply Youth Ministry. (you can get to Simply's site through the ad box on this page)
Following the game the table groups had some discussion time answering questions we had up on the big screen.  All of this happened on the big screen from the very beginning until I got up to teach about God's love.  Usually I'm up on the platform the entire time but last night we let the screen do the "leading" it seemed to work well and was a good change of pace.  

I plan on incorporating students on video for the announcements and a few other fun stuffs.  The face of Contagious is changing this fall and it should be a fun time of experimenting and using different formats for our youth group time.  It's good to change things up it keeps us all on our toes and keeps us out of ruts.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

515 E-Mails

On our vacation I promised myself I wouldn't check my e-mail. Two weeks and I didn't check e-mail! A great feeling. Even most of the time I didn't have access to the internet and I had no withdrawals.

I did come home to 515 e-mails! I just finished deleting and sorting through. I would have had more but those that know me knew I was on vacation. To those friends I say a big, "Thanks" for allowing me time to relax (more vacation thoughts to come)

While sifting through my e-mail I discovered I was published again. You can check it out here if you care to.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

You Need Love

This Sunday night at Contagious is outreach night.  The whole point of this night is to share the gospel in a very clear, plain way.  Hopefully our students will have done their part and invited their friends to Contagious.  Usually we have some big food and good fun.  This week also launches us back into meeting at the church.  We miss you beach and will see you next summer!
Here is a sneak peek:
You Need Love
  • Love that is real - John 15:13; I Corinthians 13:3-5
  • Love that is unconditional - Romans 5:8
  • Love that is here - I John 4:9,10; John 6:28-40
  • Love that is available - John 3:16; John 5:24
PS  Don't worry, I put this post together before my vacation.  I love technology (voice of Kip)

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