Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Youth Trip Part 1

Promote
We promote events at youth group, through Parent newsletter and e-mails, web site.
Sign Up
We don't use sign up sheets. We use an event envelope for a few reasons:
a. there isn't the signing and then scratching out of names which then causes other students to do the same.
b. the registration fee is turned in with all the important data info.
c. I no longer am involved in the process other than knowing who is going, etc.
Prepare -
Arrange transportation.
Recruit drivers.
Line up youth leaders.  A ratio of 1 adult per 10 students is good, I like 1 to 6 or 7.
Arrange hotel/cabin/beach house.
Arrange meals/meal money.
Make a check list of what is needed for the trip.
Collect Medical Releases.
Assign another youth leader to collect prescription medicines and be the "nurse".
Track registrations/payments/medical releases on a spreadsheet.
Fuel up the vans.
Pack the first aid kit.
Get the groceries (if needed and recruit cooks well in advance if needed and let them plan the meals and grocery list on a budget)
Leave on time, even if you leave someone behind.
Return on time, don't make parents wait for a long time at the church.



Sunday, December 28, 2008

Great Advice for Life

This morning I read Psalm 26, there are some great words of wisdom to be found here on living life.  These would be some great words of advice to instill into our students whether we are parents or youth leaders:

  • Integrity must be a priority
  • Trust God without wavering
  • Be open before God
  • Live a life of truth
  • Don’t live life with the wrong crowd
  • Don’t hang with those who pretend to follow God
  • Avoid bad company
  • Love to worship God
  • Think about your redemption and God’s mercy

These are keys to an unshakable life.  No promise here that life won't be tough but how will you stand when the tough times come?

Parents - The books of Psalm and Proverbs are great books to read while your family has breakfast together in the morning before heading off to school.  If you don't take the time to spend with your teen before the day begins give it a 30 day test run, this may require you to get up 15 minutes earlier, and see if this makes a difference in your family's life.  Sure your teen may groan and grumble for a week or two but after time it will become part of their routine. Read to them, let them read, pray for them before you head to work and they head off to school.  If you drive them to school this is another great time to talk about what you read that morning.  

Friday, December 26, 2008

Winterfest

We are going.  Several years ago we started attending this event.  In the "early" years we had as few as 4 go with us.  Each year our group has grown.  This year will be our largest group yet.  We are stoked!  There are lots of great music artists and speakers at Winterfest.  I'm even more stoked about the team of adults I have going with me, there will be 7 adults going to keep an eye on the young 'uns.  In general I think a ratio of 10 students per adult is good, but I think 7 to one is even better.  

If you haven't heard of Winterfest you can check out their site.  We have met their groups that travel as far as Houston, Texas to attend.  There will be about 8000 of us rockin in the new year together.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


Luke 2 

13Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 
 14"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

This verse has been rollin around my noggin now for a few weeks.  Why would the angels say, “on earth peace”?  

At the time the angels sang this to the shepherds there certainly was not peace in that region of the world.  Rome was an occupying force.  The government had been taken over and now the Jews had to submit to an invading government.  No peace to be found there.

Were the angels delivering a message to the shepherds that the messiah would bring peace to their lives?  Shepherds were on the bottom rung of the latter of society.  It is doubtful that they would live peaceful lives due to the birth of Christ.  We know that Jesus did not bring peace to Israel.  His teachings caused division and even shook up the religious leaders.  Jesus life ended in a very non-peaceful way, the cruelest way to be put to death, on the cross.

The arrival of Jesus Christ, God born in the flesh, was the arrival of peace.  Not a peace from strife in the world.  Not a peace from war.  Not a peace between men.  The peace the angel declared was peace coming as the sacrifice for our sins that makes peace between God and us possible (not automatic).   Jesus is the peace.  Peace on earth, Jesus on earth.

This Christmas I pray you know this Peace, the peace that Jesus brings.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Contagious Tonight

Tonight we met at the bowling alley.  Nothing says Christmas like a game or two of bowling.  We had a great time.  We had a whole bunch of students and our youth ministry team was out in full force they gave us a few more lanes than we had reserved.  Lots of bowling, hanging out, picture taking, time spent in the arcade.   The lesson tonight was on fellowship, it was a "hands on" lesson.  We had a few guests so it was a great way to introduce them to the youth group.  We then went to Taco Bell and came down on them like a plague swarm of flies.  The Taco Bell staff was a bit overwhelmed, but they did well.  I had a good 20 minutes or so in line to build relationships with students.   Always call and confirm with the fast food restaurant to remind them that you are coming with a big group.


Friday, December 19, 2008

Youth Ministry Is and Isn't

Youth Ministry Is:
  • A team effort
  • Parent ministry
  • Fun
  • Hard
  • Heart breaking
  • Joy filled
  • Vital
  • A blast
  • A bummer
  • Tiring
  • Energizing
  • Relationship building
Youth Ministry Is Not:
  • Possible with a contract mentality
  • A holding tank for future "pastors"
  • The magical pill to grow your church
  • Possible with one lone youth worker and no support
  • Best when being micro-managed
  • To be handled like a corporate office
  • A baby sitting service
  • A travel agency with an activities director
  • All fun and games
  • Possible while under  unrealistic expectations
Anything you can add to this post?

Communication

I try to overcommunicate.  Even when I overcommunicate I apparently don't always communicate.  Does this communication make sense?  
Here is the communication line for youth events at NHC:
1.  Announced weekly at youth group.
2.  Printed announcement on student's hand out
3.  Communicated in the monthly Parentline newsletter calendar
4.  Placed on the events page of our youth web site and church calendar
5.  Parents and YM team get a weekly e-mail with the info and links to the web page
6.  Depending on the event we make posters.
7.  Communicate on Facebook with our groups and events
8.  Special reminder e-mails 

99.9% of our communication is done online because the majority of parents have e-mail and web access.  This saves a small forest.  

How does your youth ministry communicate?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Leadership

Listening to Leadership Development: A Working Model with Steve Stroope.
Some great stuff on this Defining Moments audio training from the Willowcreek Association.

As I was listening I was reminded of my past church experience where there was a committee on committees that annually calls church members and recruits them to do their time.  A person may be called out of the blue, as the C.O.C. goes through the church phone book, and asked to serve on the children's team.  The member may have no passion or desire to work with kids but say, "yes" out of guilt.  Probably most people don't know how to say "no".  I have learned how to and am good at it.  The member agrees to serve and then more than likely gets zero training. The person then serves for three years because that is the term  of that committee position.  As Steve Stroope said, "We don't want anyone to get too much power."  Those poor people who are actually serving where God has shaped them have no hope of longevity in serving where they find joy and are passionate because they can only serve for 3 years.

I hear criticism from church folks at times.  They can be critical of a leadership approach where some great leadership skills and tips come from the corporate world or even from some of the "mega" churches.  Yet many churches model their leadership after the structure of our government.   Hmmmmm....which one works best?

I think Moses was given some great advice from his father-in-law to spread out the leadership, you can't do it all.  Many committees (at least the ones I have experienced personally both in the church and small town government) do nothing more than talk about getting something done.  Teams work together to accomplish the task.

The lesson I've learned today is never lead alone.   As a leader I should have someone working along side of me learning to lead.  Every leader of every team needs to have an assistant leader.  This is the process building up the leadership team in the church.  Leadership Development is vital to church health.  Many churches in America have no strategy for leadership development and as a result their growth is stunted because for one pastor to try to lead a whole church is not Biblical.  There are lots of great leadership models out there.  Find one that is working and customize and adapt it to work in your church setting.  Jesus led twelve and through that process those twelve became leaders.  We should be doing the same.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Big Day in the Neighborhood


Every day I drive past the spot where Orville and Wilbur Wright achieved and successfully pulled off the first flight.  The day was December 17, 1903.  So if you fly the friendly skies today take a moment and think about the imagination and creativity of these two brothers from Ohio. The next time you have an idea and someone says, "Impossible!", think of the Wright Bros.  So happy anniversary to these two bike makers.



Tuesday, December 16, 2008

10 Tips for Surviving Christmas Without Going Broke

I found this helpful article at Homeword.com: (homeword is a great resource for youth leaders and parents)

The consequences of the recent economic crisis have hit many families hard. Sure, there have been economic downturns before that have affected many. But, in my years as an adult, I have never seen such widespread financial impact and uncertainty.

I am reminded that in Christ, there is no reason to be afraid. As Christ-followers, we know that God is still on His throne, and we have much for which we can be thankful. As we enter in upon the Christmas season, all of the economic bad news ought not to affect our celebration that “Unto us a Child is born. Unto us a Son is given.”

But this Christmastime, perhaps more than any other in our lifetimes, we need to be wise in our approach to our Christmas celebrations and traditions, to ensure that we take economic realities into consideration and put our families in the best posture to weather the difficult financial times we might well face in 2009.

Here then, are some practical ideas for surviving the holidays without going broke.  READ MORE

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Party at Contagious Youth Tonight

Tonight we partied with purpose.  We took our annual Christmas party and combined it with an outreach night.  Students were encouraged to pray for 5 friends and invite them to come tonight to the party.  We had a blast!  We ate well.  Thanks Slice Pizza!   We all brought inexpensive wrapped gifts and played a game of Dirty Santa, you know the one where you can take each other's presents, a good Christian game.   Lots of chocolate candy tonight.  We had enough chocolate to cause acne problems for a year for an entire youth group.  Pee Wee the chocolate penguin seemed to be a big hit (Walgreens for $5).

I explained the purpose of our party in an earlier post.  I even asked readers to join me in praying for this night.   The purpose of this night was to share with students about the Christ of Christmas.  Jesus Christ is God's gift to us, the best Christmas gift anyone could accept.  Thanks for praying and I'm glad students brought their friends and invited friends.  Tonight a young lady put her trust and faith in Jesus Christ as her Savior.  Her and her friend were both given a Fresh Start book to go through together, friend discipling friend, pretty cool.

Our purpose is to reach students to discover life in Christ.  Tonight we accomplished that through friendship, pizza, fun, and sharing the best Christmas gift ever. 

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Big But

Psalm 13
For the director of music. A psalm of David.
1 How long, O LORD ? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
2 How long must I wrestle with my thoughts 
 and every day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me?
3 Look on me and answer, O LORD my God. 
 Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death;
4 my enemy will say, "I have overcome him," 
 and my foes will rejoice when I fall.
5 But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.
6 I will sing to the LORD, for he has been good to me.

Ever have those times when everything is going wrong, when it seems like you are stuck in the middle of a storm and can’t see the end?
Do you have those days when it seems everyone is against you?
Does God every feel like he’s a million miles away?

I can’t stand those times. I get a  frustrated, stressed, freakin out when I’m in those places of life. But that’s life!  It’s not lived on the mountaintops; life is lived in the valley.

Who knows this better than King David? David lived life in the valley. Most of his life was a struggle. Kid stuck with watching the sheep while his brothers went on an adventure.  Stood alone before a giant because no one else had the guts or the faith.  Spears chucked at him by the king while playing his harp for the king. (That ought to make some worship leaders nervous) Was pursued by a jealous king who wanted to snuff David’s life out.  Struggled with sin, adultery, murder, and the pain of life that all of that mess with Bathsheba resulted in.  David knew what it meant to live life in the valley.

So when the tough storms of life come, when the world feels like it is squeezing in around you remember the big “But”.  Did you see it? 
Verse 5 and 6:
“But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.
I will sing to the LORD, for he has been good to me.”

Know your position – God loves you.
Check your attitude – Rejoice in salvation and sing to the Lord.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Red Robin

I have seen the Red Robin commercials on tv for quite some time now and had a friend talk about the goodness of the Red Robin.
We went up to Va. today to do a little Santa run and stop at Sams Club. While there we hit Red Robin for lunch.

My review:
1. Red Robin is way over priced, by about $3. My cheeseburger was $9.75! Had I known the prices I would have never stopped. (my tea was $2.75, I buy tea bags so I know how much I'm getting ripped here!)
2. The burgers were good but not worth the $
3. I had a Banzai burger. A teriyaki burger with cheddar and grilled pineapple. It was good.
4. They serve the unending steak fries. The fries were good. I'm glad they were unending because there were about 6 in my basket. (which brings me to #5)
5. For a 13 dollar meal (after drink) I don't want it served in a Dairy Queen basket. Put it on a plate!
6. Unless someone is treating we won't be back as a family because of the cost.
7. The atmosphere was good and the staff was very friendly. A huge plus which made the $33 hamburger lunch a little easier to stomach.
8. Child's meal came with a drink, coloring book and balloon. Worth the $6

Give me a Mama Kwans burger or Run Down burger and fries any day of the week. They are better and about $3 cheaper.

If you are taking a youth group on a trip and think you are going to pull in and grab a cheap burger lunch with the students think again. The average youth group (12) would cost around $160 to feed. I can fee 40 pizza on that much money.

Party with Purpose (Bump)

Reaching students to discover life in Christ is the purpose of NHC's youth ministry.  Everything we do as a youth ministry is planned around this purpose.  In our purpose "Reaching" is our outreach aspect of why God has us here ministering on the OBX of NC, and the world.  "Discover life in Christ"  covers discipleship, fellowship and worship.

Sunday night we are going to party with a purpose.  Students were challenged a couple weeks ago to write down the names of 5 friends who need a relationship with Jesus Christ and then to pray for those 5 friends.  It doesn't stop there though, students were also challenged to share their faith with these 5 friends.  

Sunday night we are combining our annual Christmas party with and outreach emphasis.  I will share with the students about the Christ in Christmas. Plainly and clearly the good news of God's gift will be explained.  Then students will have an opportunity to trust Jesus as their Savior if they are ready to take that step.  IF our students have followed through with their end of the challenge there should be some guests here at the party who will hear about this life changing gift that is waiting for their acceptance of the gift.

You can join this event with us even though you may not be a student in our youth group.  We are asking adults to join us in prayer for and during the party this Sunday evening, December 14 from 5 to 7pm EST.  


More Christmas Cheer

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Call Your Senator!

I'm just a little miffed that the government is bailing out all these big corporations who have done business poorly.  Who is gonna bail me out when I spend more than I make?

In case you haven't heard the senate is trying to tuck a pay raise for judges into the automaker bailout.   I'm not sure what judges have to do with the production of automobiles.  Anyone?
They want to give the judges the COLA, cost of living adjustment.  Many americans will not be getting a COLA this year  because of the economy.  The only COLA I'll get in 2009 is the one with Coca in front of the COLA. (and I'm not complaining about that because how can I take a raise when we have people in our church who are really hurting because of the economical situation in our nation right now)

If the government wants to give judges a raise they need to do that separate from the bailout. They had their chance in November but sat on it!

I'll be making a few phone calls to those who represent me in DC.

Friday, December 5, 2008

2009 is Coming!

It is time to put 2009 down on paper.    Not wanting to simply fly by the seat of my pants I will get to work planning next year’s lessons, events, activities for the youth ministry.

My Plan:

  1. Look for balance in all we do.  Balancing connecting, serving, following, reaching and worship. 
  2. Make sure our events and activities have a purpose as the base.
  3. Keep events and activities that cost students and their parents money to a minimum due to the economy. 
  4. Map out the scope of our learning for the year:  seek the YM team’s input and the student’s input.
  5. Lay the year out in one big calendar and plan keeping school calendar in mind and also spread out the events that do cost $.

My Goal:

Have the calendar planned out by the end of December.  Around our area we will get invites from other youth groups for an event a month or two in advance max and sometimes literally just days before.  I learned a long time ago you can’t do it all.  I have heard of some youth groups that are doing 2 to 4 activities a month outside of their regular weekly youth group gathering.  Planning in advance also comes in handy when invited to events that don’t fit the scope or direction the youth ministry is heading for the year. 

I’ll post more as our calendar comes together. 


Merry Christmas!

A New Dance
Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Thursday, December 4, 2008

I love Christmas!

It's the most wonderful time of the year!  My beautiful wife came down yesterday and finished decorating my office door.


I added a personal touch.

Merry Christmas!

The Big 3

I rarely dive into the political ring and debate. But when I see our government throwing money out the window I get very uncomfortable because somehow it will have a negative impact on my wallet and my son's future. We are giving money away that our kids will be paying for and if they keep shelling it out our grand kid's will be paying for.

The Big 3 apparently were taking a little drive to DC today in their economy cars. Nice try big boys but I think most Americans see past your publicity stunt. Your road trip did nothing to stimulate the economy. You should have taken a coach class commercial airline trip and pumped some money into the economy that way. Upon arriving in DC you could have caught a cab and again put money into the economy. Instead you choose to take a ride in a car you made and put $130 of gas into the car and that money for the most part is padding the wallet of someone living overseas. You did nothing to stimulate the economy.  And you only did this because of the outcry of citizens when you took your last trips in your private jets.

If a business owner operates a business poorly they go out of business. That's hard but it is a fact of life in our capitalist society. Why should the government bail out the auto makers when there are hundreds of other business going bankrupt or shutting their doors? Next will we bail out the airlines? Then what big business or industry after that?  I heard a lot about Main St. during the presidential campaign.  Apparently Main St. has been kicked to the curb.

Banks were bailed out and what have they done with the money? They have been sitting on it. Why don't the banks take that money and loan it to the auto industry? That would stimulate the economy but then again that would be a risk for the banks.  I don't see Toyota or Honda lining up looking for a hand out. Why? Because they are running their business better and smarter. 

Our government is in serious financial trouble because the government doesn't know how to do business.  I think our government are the last ones that should be making financial decisions.  The same politicians that are squawking about the money being spent in Iraq and the war on terror are the same ones wanting to dish money out to incompetent CEOs.  

 Here is my idea for stimulating the economy and helping the auto industry at the same time:
1.  Take those billions of dollars and instead of giving them to the auto industry give those bucks to citizens of the US that need a new car and then we (cause I need one, been driving on a blown engine for two years) could go and buy the new car.  This would put money into the pockets of the auto industry and help Americans.  

2.  Force the banks that are getting bailed out to make loans to people who qualify.  

3.  Give the money to the citizens instead of the big corporations, who obviously don't know how to handle money, and let the citizens pump that money back into the economy.

I guarantee if the US government gave me 25 grand I would buy a new car and if they gave me a stimulus check that I would put that money back into the economy.  Surely some politicians in DC have brains and will stand up and do the right thing.  Why are we letting attorneys turned politicians make financial decisions?  Why not find some people that understand business and the economy to make the decisions?

OK.  I have not vented for a while so I feel much better.  And if you took time to read this you amaze me.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Summer Camp

Crazy but yes we must start thinking about summer camp in December. Camp is only 7 months away. I'm sure Student Life is feverishly working away putting together yet another fantastic camp experience for our students. Parents should probably start thinking about a camp savings plan, allowance, lay-a-way or something. This year our camp theme is FLIP.

Focus in Check

Free Training Articles

Free training articles in the Simply Youth Ministry weekly newsletter.

If you are in youth ministry and don't get this weekly, sometimes twice a week, e-mail newsletter you are missing out on some free training.  Each issue has a few articles for youth ministry.
This week's articles are:
When Expectations Meet Disappointment - Matt McMage
How to Handle Potential Suicide - Megan Hutchinson
Focus in Check - Andy Lawrence (amazingly this guy looks a lot like Andy Lawrenson)

I usually read the articles and forward them on to our youth ministry team.  It's a good way to get in some quick training simply by reading.

Staying in the Loop

One of the best things I've learned over the past several years is that it is great to give ministry away.  Of course a few will think, "Yea, then you don't have to work!"  Come on let's be fair, everyone knows that youth pastors work two days a week.  We gotta pace ourselves!

Why give ministry away? (Several reasons I can think of)

1.  Others get off the bench and in the game

2.  It helps others to discover and use their SHAPE

3.  Everyone member is a minister (not just the paid guys)

4.  It builds the church up.

5.  Allows me to concentrate on what I'm good at.

Last night I met with three "coaches" from our church.  These coaches have stepped into leadership positions in ministry leading our children's, nursery and kiosk teams.  What these three coaches do used to be done by me.  The teams they coach have grown and are much more effective now that these coaches are in place partly because they are getting the attention they need from a coach who has a passion for their ministry.  Plus they are great at what they do.

The meeting was our first official meeting with all three together.  We will be doing this monthly as a "staff" meeting to keep me in the loop and up to speed on what is happening and what is needed.  Let me close by adding that these coaches aren't paid positions, these three are members of our church who have found their place in ministry.

What can you do to give ministry away?  What ministry are you serving in at your church?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Blog Party!

At some point today the party begins.  Today theaddyouthpastor.com will cross 200,000 hits.
So let the blog party begin!  I have one request.  At least one person from 47 states has viewed this blog.  I lack three states!  If you know anyone in Wyoming, New Mexico or Vermont please pass along the url for my blog.  It would be cool to see each state on my map have at least one hit, it's sort of like a hobby or collecting things.  Someone from the United Arab Emirates has hit the blog for pete's sake yet we still lack a few states.

If you haven't been here before for the blog party (an invention of mine) the party is simple.  You just go to the comment section and let us know what food you have brought to the party.  I'm bringing a healthy helping of buffalo wings.  What you bringin?

Monday, December 1, 2008

Relational Discipleship

Each week at 4:45 on Sunday afternoons our YM team meets for 15 minutes before Contagious to run through what to expect that night. We also pray and discuss any important stuffs pertaining to what we do in ministry. Last night I encouraged the team to remember that they are the youth ministers, the shepherds. This morning I went on an article hunt. I'm e-mailing this to our team and we will discuss it on our secret facebook group page. Oh, yeah, we are high tech. ;)

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...