Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Communicating with Teens

I'm currently reading Speaking to Teenagers.  I'm about half way through the book and I am learning a lot of good stuff and practical help in crafting a message for students.  My blue highlighter is marking the book on just about every page.

Chapter two is Building Bridges that Connect.  Here is a statement that jumped out at me:
"No matter how impressive the structure, or how lengthy the preparation, or how unique the design, Christian communication - whether it's a sermon, a talk, a Bible study, or a devotional - that doesn't help people connect to God is a wast of time, effort, and opportunity.  It's a bridge to nowhere, and a bridge to nowhere is no bridge at all."

You can pick up a copy of this great book here.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Last NIght at Contagious

Last night was my first night at Contagious since mid February. It was great to be serving with the YM team again and ministering to students. Contagious has met every week and continued without me, and judging from last night's attendance the group has been doing well without me because our YM team did a fantastic job. I'm super thankful for their willingness to serve and share Christ's love with students.

Last night was an outreach night. This is a push for our students to bring (we have stopped using the word "invite" and implemented "bring") their friends. Usually we serve something other than just chips and drinks and the main emphasis is on sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with the students.

Everyone got a coin and I shared the good news of salvation using the following outline: (thanks to D. Fields)
As Believers . . .
Penny - Reminds us that our Past is forgiven in Christ
Nickel - Reminds us that Now that the Holy Spirit lives in us
Dime - Reminds us that God has an eternal Determined Destiny for us in Christ
Quarter - Reminds us that followers of Christ have Quality growth

Bonnie's family group doubled their size last night.  We told students that the group with the biggest percentage of guests would get a prize. This is a group of high school girls and they had the option of  playing laser tag and eating pizza or making jewelry and eating pizza.  They chose lazertag! (and their guests go with them)  Sounds like an outing I may have to do with them to make sure the event goes well.

Some stats from last night:
Attendance was 60% group members and 40% guests
15% of our members were absent
5 of the 10  family groups brought the guests

We consumed:
5 large bags of chips
75 hot dogs with a fully loaded hot dog bar
3 gallons of lemonade
3 gallons of ice cream with a fully loaded sundae bar



Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Righteous Youth Ministry

Proverbs 21:2,3

“All the ways of a man seem right to him, but the LORD evaluates the motives.

Doing what is righteous and just
is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.”

“I’m doing youth ministry the way it should be done.”  Proverbs 21:2 teaches us “there is a way that seems right to man”.  It is so easy to fall into the trap of thinking that I’m doing the right stuffs in ministry; even to think I’m doing what I am doing is what God wants me to do.  I don’t know about you but it is very easy for me to convince myself that I’m right and that is because I am always right.  The question to ask myself is am I doing what is right in youth ministry as God sees it?  This question leads to evaluation, doesn’t it?

The verse goes on to point out that God knows our motivation.  Why do we do what we do in ministry?  What motivates us?  Success, a huge youth group, being looked up to by our peers, the feeling of knowing that students have put you on a pedestal, being the answer man/woman, feeling needed by others, work-a-holic, moving up the ministerial ladder, finances (ha!), our own dreams and goals, the feeling of giving.  We can convince ourselves that we are doing the right thing in ministry but God knows what truly motivates us.

“Look at all I do for the church, for God, for these students and their parents.”  Verse 3 shows us that God wants us to be righteous and just.  Doing ministry God’s way, the plan He has for you, is the result of being in a right relationship with Him.  You can do and do and do, give and give and give, but God’s not so much concerned about your assumed sacrifice as He is with you walking in a right relationship with Him, righteousness over sacrifice. 

 Now it’s time to evaluate why I do what I do in ministry.  Is it the result of seeking to be right with God, growing my relationship with Him?  Am I doing youth ministry the way that I think is “right” or am I doing righteous youth ministry?  How about you?  Have you evaluated what motivates you to do ministry?  Are you more concerned about youth ministry than you are about being in a right relationship with your Savior?

Strive to be righteous and to have a righteous youth ministry.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Columbine High



Ten years ago today Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris walked into their high school and went on a rampage shooting and killing their classmates.  Ten years ago today our nation was shocked and rocked by this incredible act of violence.  What could cause two teenage boys to "go off"?  What would lead Dylan and Eric to shoot other teens who they had grown up with?  Twelve students and a teacher lost their lives that day and around 24 others were injured.  Hundreds were wounded emotionally.  

Columbine was the first of several school shootings that would soon follow.  Immediately schools took action steps to increase security.  Our local schools have bumped up security.  Parents cried out for schools to protect their children.  Not long after Columbine I heard parents and students complain about security measures.  How quickly we forget.

Let's not forget to take time today to pray for the families who lost their children in the Columbine killings.  Remember to pray for the survivors.  Most have struggled for years with the shocking scene they witnessed ten years ago.  No child should ever see the things the survivors saw that day.

Friday, April 17, 2009

"I Love Technology" (in the voice of Kipling Dynamite)



In our youth ministry we use technology in as many ways possible.  I'm sure we have yet to even tap the potential or possibilities in using technology.  

We have a web site that helps promote events, remind and resource parents, publicize why we exist as a youth ministry and online event registration.

We use Textmarks at times to shoot out text reminders and announcements.  Students and parents can sign up on our web site to receive the text reminders.

Facebook is a tool we use a lot.  We have formed a facebook group for our youth group.  Our youth ministry team has a group as well and we use it to discuss ym topics and remind us what is coming up.  Recently I encouraged our adult leaders to form individual facebook groups for their "family group" that meets on Sunday nights at Contagious as a means of communicating and keeping tabs on their students.  Facebook events are a great way to promote upcoming events and activities.

On Sunday, April 26, we are having an outreach night.  The purpose of this night is for students to focus on bringing friends to Contagious.  We are experimenting by using Facebook as a means of inviting their friends to come hang with us at Contagious.  Besides presenting the gospel that night we will also have a hot dog bar with all the deluxe fixins and a sundae bar with all the goodies to make a great sundae, even sprinkles!

What ways does your youth ministry use technology?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Principles in Parenting Seminar


Principles for Parenting Seminar
Led by Herb Owen
Saturday, April 25
8:45 to 1:00
Nags Head Church
$15 Registration, spouse may attend free.  $5 for extra workbook.
This seminar is for parents of children and teens and anyone who has
influence in the lives of children and youth.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Most Valuable Asset

“I’m the most valuable asset . . .” This was a phrase I heard come out of the mouth of an employee in a corporate situation. She is getting moved from where she thinks she is the best choice the company has for that area. She also went on to talk about how good she was at her job and was the best person for the job. Now I don’t mind a little pride in the job you do but this person had very high thoughts of herself. Maybe she is the most valuable asset, perhaps the “powers” that be where she works are making a mistake, maybe they are not making a mistake in moving her. I don’t know enough about this company to know whether or not they consider themselves a team but judging from her statement I don’t think they do or at least she is not a team player.

Ministry is best accomplished in a team and not in a lone ranger approach. I think teams are very important to the health and growth of a church as the partners (members) discover how God has created them to serve.

Some thought about ministry teams:
>Together Everyone Accomplishes More
>There is no “I” in team
>It’s not about you
>Team members watch out for the whole team
>Teams work together to accomplish the vision of the church
>Individual teams in a church are just a part of the big picture
>No one on a team is more valuable than another
>Every team member has gifts and talents to be used by God
>Teams work together through conflict

The most valuable asset to a team is a team player.


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Benchmark Youth Ministry Coaching

For the past few years I have had a desire to help youth leaders and churches reach students.  I know in our area there are a lot of youth ministries led by a volunteer.  Hats off to volunteers!  These fine folks work hard all week and then put in hours of work with their church's youth as well.  

I recently launched a new web site and service.  Benchmark Youth Ministry Coaching has been created to hopefully be used by churches to help them in their efforts in reaching students.  Right now Benchmark YMC is in the infant stage, if this thing takes off I hope to add other youth ministers to the coaching roster in different areas who can join the team in helping churches do youth ministry better.  I know that in my own experience it has been so helpful to be able to tap into veteran youth ministers to get ideas, guidance and encouragement.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Happy Birthday Twins!




Jeremiah 29:11
I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord. . .

Five years ago I thought I would never be a dad then God blessed us with our oldest son.
As of December 30 I thought our son would be an only child.  December 31 we found out we were going to adopt twins.  January 7 the babies entered the world! (read more about that here)

The last few months have been an incredible journey!  The twins are a blessing from God.  We, even big brother, enjoy having them in the family.  Someone jokingly asked our 4 year old son if they could take one of the babies with them.  His response, "No, they are our family."  

I have spent the last few months at home.  It has been a lot of fun mixed with a few tense moments.  When both babies cry which one will I pick up first?  I have learned how to hold one baby and scoop the other up with one hand.  I can feed two babies at one time,  burping two at one time has yet to be accomplished.  I have turned our guest room into the babies' room. (pics to come soon)

I'm blessed to serve in a church that understands the importance of giving pastors a break.  Every 7 years a pastor can take up to a 3 month sabbatical.  The timing was perfect!  Thank God for NHC and all her wonderful partners.  

Father of three!  I would have never guessed . . . but God knew.  

Contest Winner is Marcia!  2,000 blogspot points and 1,000 bonus points
Marcia guessed their weight the closest and their combined weight.
"Fred" 12 pounds 10 ounces
"Wilma" 11 pounds 12 ounces
Marcia, use those points wisely.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Contest!


Tomorrow the twins have their 3 month birthday.  Today they got weighed.  2000 blogspot points to anyone who guesses their correct weight.
1000 blogspot points to whoever guesses their correct combined weight.
Let the contest begin!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

"I've grown more . . ."

This past Wednesday night we had our 1st Wednesday worship gathering.  1st Wednesday is a night of worship for our church family, we get together and remember Christ's death through communion and we spend a little more time worshipping together than we usually have on Sunday morning.

This past 1st Wednesday was a great time of worship in music and remembering Christ's death.  We had a first at our 1st.  Rick did an exit interview with two of our members who are moving away soon.  It was great to hear Tommy and Claire's thought about NHC.  Lots of good stuff was shared. 

Two things that stood out in my mind from listening to them:

1.  Connection - Tommy and Claire were very well connected in the church.  There were active in serving in ministry, both were plugged into a small group.  The love the church's warmth and friendliness.    What this confirmed to me is that if a partner of NHC doesn't think the church cares for them and loves them reveals probably two underlying issues in their own life:
a.  They don't serve in ministry
b.  They are connected to a small group

If you want to feel connected and a part of your church you roll up your sleeves and serve in ministry to your church.  If you want to feel connected to your church you build relationships with other believers through a small group.  Tommy and Claire love serving!  They "get it"!!

2.  Spiritual Growth - Because I'm part of a contemporary church and a church that is purpose driven I sometimes hear or read that contemporary churches or purpose driven churches aren't effective in helping believers grow spiritually.   I believe someone can grow just as much in a contemporary, PD church as they can in a traditional church.  I believe that spiritual growth more often than not is an individual's responsibility learning to feed self.
Here is what Tommy said about this contemporary, PD church, "I've grown more in the past 6 years than I had in the 39 before that."  Tommy has been a follower of Christ for 45 years.

Tommy helped drive home an excellent point.  You can be PD and contemporary and still mature in your faith.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Parenting

Proverbs is loaded with some great tid bits of wisdom for parenting and influencing children.  I know when I'm at Wal Mart and that kid who is spoiled is throwing a fit and the parents don't know what to do and so they give in as they always do after about 50 threats of punishment, these are the ones who could use a good reading in Proverbs.  We've all seen that child and often when we leave Wal Mart we know him or her by name even though we don't know the family.

I read these verses in my reading of Proverbs 29 on Sunday:

 Verse 15
The rod of correction imparts wisdom, 
 but a child left to himself disgraces his mother.

Verse 17
Discipline your son, and he will give you peace; 
he will bring delight to your soul.


I'm not a parenting expert and there are few who are.  I am glad that God gives us some guidance in the Bible as well as placing people in our lives to help us parent.   

At Nags Head Church families are a priority.  I'm excited that the Outer Banks Youth Ministry Network is bringing Herb Owen in to lead the Principles in Parenting Seminar.  Herb was my junior church pastor when I was in the 4th through 6th grades and had a huge influence on my life.  Herb and Marylin raised two great sons who are living successful Christian lives.  These are the types of parents I want to go to for wisdom in raising my kids.  I'm not a smart man but I have figured out that it is wise to learn from others.

The Principles in Parenting Seminar is for:
Expecting Parents (get a jump start)
Parents of children  (good to know how to mold their lives) 
Parents of teens  (what do we do when they rebel?)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Strange Occurrences in the Skies

If you have been watching the news lately you know of the strange occurrences that have been happening in the sky across the eastern seaboard. Hundreds have reported seeing a bright orange object flying across the sky and then hearing explosions and then seeing purple soft ball size trail of lights. 

Now I'm not a "believer" in Aliens. As you know from past posts I do believe in UFO's. I have had a few incidents of witnessing strange things in the sky that can't be explained as a traditional known aircraft. This morning I'm minding my own business, watching FOX news and twittering with a cup of coffee when I heard a rumble. It is cloudy out so I thought nothing of it and just thought it was thunder since it looks like it is going to rain. I heard the rumbles again so I got up to look out the living room window.  

Strange occurrence happens once again in my life with a UFO. There was a strange shaped glowing orange object just below the cloud cover and behind it trailed a burst of blueish purpleish softball sized balls of light. What makes this even stranger for me is the that this happened during daylight hours which I haven't heard of in the news.  

Because of what is going on in our lives we keep the camera close by in the living room and I was able to snap this photo.

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...