Monday, July 27, 2009

Day One of Impact Outer Banks

Day One:
84 Students
10 Churches from 4 denominations
10 teams made up of students from different churches (I have one student from NHC on my team and the rest are from other churches.  A great way for students to form relationships with other believers at their school)
Mission Circus where the Mission sites shared what will happen this week (orientation)
Teams came up with their names and made a team flag
Excellent lunch cooked for us by the good folks at Duck UMC
Fun afternoon at the beach

Tomorrow the team I'm leading heads to the Crisis Pregnancy Center to wash down some cribs.  Hopefully we will have a little slide show/video to share tomorrow night

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Tonight at Contagious

Great time with youth group at the beach tonight.  Many Boars Head hot dogs were consumed by the students and some of the Nags Head lifeguards helped us wipe out the hot dogs. 
Tonight we talked about friends and then broke up into small groups for prayer.  
  • Friendship with God should be our first priority
  • We all need a friend who is truthful with us
  • Love should be the basis of our friendships

Tomorrow some of our students will be participating in Impact Outer Banks, a week long missions event.  We have about 70 students divided up into 10 mission teams and each day each the teams will do a different local mission project.  In the morning we have a worship time together then head out to our mission sites and then back together in the afternoon for some recreation time together.

Monday, July 20, 2009

After Camp Family Time

First of all I want to recognize those that serve in youth ministry as volunteers and take a week's vacation time off to go to camp with the students.  You guys rock!

Something I have decided to do is to take time off after camp.  Camp is 120 hours away from my family.  In the past I have taken a day or two off as comp time to get some rest thanks to a church who genuinely cares for her staff.  Now that my family has expanded and I know the work involved in taking care of a 5 year old and twin 6 month old babies I know that my wife needs me home to help her get some rest as well.  So I'll be vacationing on the OBX with my family and friends this week.

As I sat at camp last week thinking about the stress my family went through with one child with pink eye, one twin taken to the ER in an ambulance and then her twin brother ending up sick as well I was reminded of something very important:

What good are you if you minister to other parents children but neglect to minister to your own family?

My family should be my first ministry.  Growing up as a pastor's kid I got to rub elbows with a lot of other children who had parents in full time ministry.  I have seen many go off the edge and often it was due to an absentee father, the pastor.  Shame on pastors who do this!  

The church belongs to God, He can take care of her just fine without you.  If I'm in ministry and I'm going to neglect my family it would be healthier for the church if I quit and found some other line of work.  Why?  We, as pastors, should be setting the example.

So this will be my last blog post for the week.  I won't twitter or Facebook except for fun.  Now off to take care of my family!  

Are you neglecting your family?


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Don't Be "that" Youth Pastor

So I'm at camp this week and I love going to camp and removing students from their daily routine where they are in an atmosphere that is just saturated by the word of God. Some thoughts from my perspective at camp for youth pastors:

1. Attend the Youth Minister's meeting so you know what is going on. Lights out has been stressed at the meeting but apparently the youth pastor on the floor above me doesn't see this on the schedule and doesn't attend the youth ministers meeting each day.  The meeting is also a great place to build relationships with other youth leaders.

2.  Give your students some freedom without going overboard.  Camp is a great time to help students learn personal responsibility.  I don't gather my students around me like a mother hen.  I do let them know what is expected, when to be where, and then if they choose to ignore the expectations and make the choice to do "their own thing" I also teach them about consequences.  They may get this at home so it's good for them to see that it's not just their parents.  They may not get this at home and a week at camp is a great place to expose them to personal responsibility.

3.  Don't be "that" youth pastor.  You are their shepherd not their "bud".  This means we have to realize that while we want to be a friend to them we also have to be an authority in their lives.  
Example:
The guys on the floor above ours have been really noisy after lights out.  I expect this on the first night with everyone excited to be at camp.  By 1:30AM I had enough.  I went upstairs to ask them to quit walking around, jumping and moving furniture and who should turn the corner in their dorm room but their youth pastor.  He is young and I think attempting to be their "bud" so he did what a bud would do and covered for them blaming the floor above.  I knew it wasn't the floor above them but I paid them a visit also.  Love them, guide them, help them and then when they graduate high school you will have a close friend.

My prediction is that this youth pastor's immaturity is going to be what moves him on from his church in 18 to 24 months.  Yes our job is fun but at the same time we are shepherds and herding sheep isn't always fun.

4.  Take time each day and pray.  Each day pray for your students by name that God will move in their lives while at camp and that they will respond obediently to Him and that their commitments made at camp would be lasting ones.  If your group is big recruit some prayer warriors back home to pray for them or divide the students up among your adult leaders.

5.  Ask your students how their camp experience is going.  You can learn what God is doing in their lives and also learn if the camp is really the one you need to be bringing your students to.  Our students love Student Life.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Student Life Camp

Next week we leave for Student Life Camp.  Camp is a love/hate thing for me.  I love camp and getting the students out of their normal routine to an atmosphere that is totally centered around God.  I hate being away from home and family.  I sleep better in my own home and I don't really like camp food.  PLUS I'll miss my kids and lovely wife BIG TIME.

Student Life is so organized.  They really have this camp thing down to a science.  As a youth leader taking my students I really don't have any questions or "wonderings" because SL does such a fantastic job preparing us for camp.  Of course the youth leader who doesn't read everything and utilize the online resources may be a bit lost or confused.

Each step of the camp process is lined out by SL.  The camp prep is super easy.  Today I even got our rooming assignments as well as the student's team assignments.  If you are looking for a camp experience for your students next summer I highly recommend Student Life.  I believe this is our 8th summer camp with SL.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Happy Birthday To Our Twins!



Our twins are 6 months old today!  Six months ago God blessed us with these two awesome little lives.  I was thinking last night that I can't imagine life without them.  I thank God each day for the miracle of adoption.

The twins are both weighing in now around 17 pounds and are both around the 22-23 inches mark in length.  They are eating baby food (home made I might add because baby food is expensive enough with one baby much less two and home made is healthier) and drinking from a cup.  They still hit the bottle a few times a day.  For a couple of months now they have been sleeping through the night and we are stoked about that.  

Twin A (baby girl) loves to talk and she also enjoys standing in the walker.  Twin B (baby boy) loves to eat and flex his muscles and growl.  They both have great smiles.  Twin B melts me with his big smile and Twin A has had me wrapped around her finger pretty much since birth.

Big brother is enjoying them both more now that they laugh and smile at him.  He enjoys entertaining them (at least for now).

Pray for us as we continue the journey in adoption and heading towards finalization as well as financing the adoption.

Monday, July 6, 2009

The Power of Focus

Ministry is a joy but . . .

Sometimes ministry can be frustrating.  Sometimes ministry can be hard.  Sometimes ministry can be exhausting.  We can’t escape these aspects of ministry.  The reason ministry can be hard is because ministry involves people and people come with baggage, hurt, pain, anger, bitterness, laziness, etc. 

I’m glad that every follower of Christ is a minister.  Some believers realize this and they roll up their sleeves and serve.  Some choose to ignore this because, “I’m too busy”.  Some ignore this fact due to ignorance, years of the church teaching that the guy up front giving the sermon is the minister.

If you find yourself struggling in ministry (and I’m not just talking to the folks make their living “in ministry”) there are some great verses to be read in 2 Corinthians 4.  I strongly suggest you park there for a while and read the chapter, then read it again, then read it again.  There are a few verses there in that chapter that are an encouragement to me. 

As I read this chapter I thought of the person in ministry who feels like they are banging their head against a wall.  The ministry team who is doing their best to stretch their small team to accomplish the ministry task because other church members choose to sit the bench.  The youth minister who for reasons beyond his control is facing opposition from within his church.  The pastor who finds it a struggle to minister because he has a handful of critics who seem to find joy in making his life miserable and also find joy in throwing out obstacles to keep their church from growing.  I often wonder if those folks aren’t the wolves in sheep’s clothing.  To be honest, in my lifetime, most of the persecution I’ve seen has come from within the church itself.

How do you find the strength to minister?

Now we have this treasure in clay jars, so that this extraordinary power may be from God and not from us. (4:7)

How do you not fold up in ministry and throw in the towel?

Therefore we do not give up; even though our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day. (4:16)

Why do you keep serving in ministry?

For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory. (4:17)

The power to minister comes from your focus.

So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen; for what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (4:18)

So today if you are weary, tired both physically and emotionally.  If you are waking up to the “Monday morning after Sunday blues” I would encourage you to spend some time in 2 Corinthians 4.  Park there, hang out there a while.  Find the source of your strength, resolve not to quit, realize that you are being renewed, think about what awaits in eternity, focus on what is unseen, the eternal.

 

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Camp Blog

Follow us while we are at Student Life the 13th - 17th.

Check out our camp blog HERE

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Tracking Medications and Dosage

This year we try something new for camp.  I've created a spreadsheet to keep track of students who will need medications at camp.  Very basic.  Student's name, medication, instructions. Followed by each day of the week with a box to check off when the medication was administered. This will help:
  • Make sure the students get their meds when they are supposed to
  • To protect accidental overdose or neglecting to take their meds
I've been taking students to camp for 15 years and this form is the result of evaluating what we could do to handle medications better and responsibly.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Righteous Youth Ministry

New Site is up and Running

My new web site which now hosts my blog posts is up and fully functional. You can check it out at andylawrenson.com . There is also a mon...