Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Article on Age Segmentation in the Church

Nate, our worship and arts dude, sent me a link to a great article.  Here it is.  A good read for church leaders and parents of teens.  Don't think you are interested in reading the article?  Read some of the things the article shares below:

"The statistics are grim. Rainer Research estimates that 70 percent of young people leave the church by age 22."

"If adults in a church caught a vision that every kid needs to have their name known by five adults in the church, then an adult who's interested in computers can connect with a teen who is interested in computers. And it's through things like service that we get to know each other and can follow up later to deepen the relationship."

"But one of our more interesting findings is that it's also very important for parents to share about their own spiritual journeys with kids. Teenagers don't know how their parents came to know Jesus."

"The pastor is crucial. I'm a big believer in the priesthood of all believers. Yet the reality is that the behavior and attitudes of the pastor ultimately set the course for the church."

"Technology today is a lot like a driver's license was for the previous generation. When I got my driver's license, all of a sudden I could do things with my friends and have relationships that I couldn't without my driver's license. And cell phones do that for kids today."

Now are you interested?  Read the article here.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Last Night at Contagious

Fantastic turn out of students last night!  Several guests and we exceeded our goal for the week.  It was "build your own pizza" night, which is always a favorite among the students and YM team alike.  Students enjoyed hanging out with each other and with the team during Hang Time.  I watched some of the pizza building.  Some students were all about creating a "work of art" others were just about the business of slapping the toppings on so they could consume their pizza as quick as possible.

We have been building up some momentum.  We started a few weeks ago with Galaxy Golf, the next week we returned to the church building and created our new Pods for the school year, last night we did the pizza thing.  Next week we introduce the new Contagious Youth Band as they lead us in some worship in music.  I'm really excited about the band, they sounded great last night at practice.

We tackled our first message in the Elijah series, I Kings 18:16-39.  We looked at Elijah's confidence in God when he took on the prophets of Baal.  We saw that Confidence in God brings:
Courageous Attitudes
Bold Actions
Useful Service
The student then broke up into their Pods and discussed and applied the lesson from Elijah's life as well as took a peek at Stephen in the book of Acts 7:54-60.

Next Sunday we look at tackling fear.  I'll be honest, I'm afraid of roller coasters and have absolutely zero desire to ride them, and yes I have been on a coaster before.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Parent Pod

During the summer our youth group has our weekly get together at the beach.  A couple years ago we started the "Parent Pod".  The parents would bring their beach chairs and gather together and hang out together while the students played in the water and had their Bible study.

I'm excited to announce that now the Parent Pod will be carried into the school year.  Several parents have expressed interest in getting together to do a parenting teen study together on Sunday evenings while their kids are at Contagious.    Pastor Tom, currently the parent of a teen and he has also raised three older daughters, will be leading the study.  What a great opportunity to get together with others who are traveling the same road and share thoughts, prayer requests, and do life together.

If you are a parent of a teen at NHC I would encourage you to plug into the Parent Pod connection group.  Contact youth@nagsheadchurch.org if you would like to get involved.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Last Night at Contagious

Last night we had each student fill out an info sheet so we could update all our contact info and find out which grade they are in this year as well as what sports or extracurricular activities they are involved in.  This info is helpful to their Pod Leader to keep tabs as well as attend games, etc.

We gathered their info during Hang Time and then by the time we moved into the auditorium for our Bible study we had placed each student in their new Pod for the school year.  The Pods shaped up nicely and students were challenged to grow their Pod by bringing their friends to Contagious.

Hang Time continues to be a favorite time for our students.  Next week is "build your own pizza" night during Hang Time.  

Next week we begin a three week series looking at Elijah.  We check out being confident in God.

Last night we looked at Daniel 6 and checked out Daniel's commitment.  We were challenged to:
Be Committed to other Believers 
Be Committed to Grow
Be Committed to Worship 
Be Committed to your Mission

Monday, September 14, 2009

Prayer Request

I don't usually post prayer requests on my blog but I now have a special place in my heart for twins, and premie twins.  

There are twins in Va.  (I'm holding back their names) who are 5 weeks and have a virus.   Please lift them up in your prayers.  God knows who they are.


All Part of the Plan

It is easy to get in the routine and then get stuck in a rut.  This summer we met each Sunday night at the beach for our youth gathering.  Now that school has started we will be moving back to the church building.  I noticed this summer several of our students who didn't attend even one youth group gathering at the beach, I also noted that we need to see some new faces at youth group.
So what do we do?

I thought that between the transition from the beach to the church building it would be good to do something just for fun.   The idea was that for the student who has faded out it would be an easy and fun way to fade back in.  The other thought was that it would be a good non-threatning way for students to bring a friend.  So we went to Galaxy Golf.  The fine folks at Galaxy Golf there were closed but opened just for us.

I totally whooped the 3 middle school boys I was competing against, so I feel like a bigger man today. :)  (Just a side note)  It was cool how our YM team played with groups of students rather than with other YM team members.  The great part is I didn't have to tell them to do that, they are just that good at what they do and know their purpose to their ministry.

The plan worked.  We had the best turn out of students we have had since last school year's end.  We saw a few of the faded out students fade back, we got to meet several new students who were brought by their friends.  A few parents even hung out and played with us, which is cool.

At the end all the students were reminded of our Movie Night on Saturday night.  We will be showing the film, Walking on Water, outside in the parking lot.  Students are to bring a chair and a friend to enjoy this great film.  My hope is that the Galaxy Golf would be a great way to springboard into Saturday night's event which will be a great way to ease some new guests into Sunday night's youth gathering.  It's all part of the plan.

So when planning events and activities ask yourself, "Why are we doing this?"  If there is no purpose or ultimate reason don't plan the event or activity.

Friday, September 11, 2009

A Day to Remember

On this day in 2001 Mish and I were sitting in the living room of "Weekend at Burnie's" beach house.  We had traveled to the OBX for my interview for the staff position of youth and children's pastor at NHC.  

I will never forget the images that I saw as we were watching the Good Morning America and the 2nd jet struck the tower.  9/11 is a day I will never forget.  That day thousands of innocent Americans lost their lives due to the act of some religious fanatics who had no regard for life because that is what their religion taught them.  

I pray that we as a nation will never forget that day.  Our churches were flooded with people wanting to pray.  Our nation turned to God during that time.  From looking at what is going on in our country I think we have forgotten or perhaps we are a "nation under God" when we are at our rope's end and in trouble.

Sometimes when I hear the politicians bantering it seems that they and the ACLU have forgotten what happened to America on that day.  When I see on the news people, Americans, defending terrorist my blood starts to boil.  Why would an American do that?  Because they have forgotten the lives lost on 9/11, they have forgotten all the fallen heroes who went into burning buildings to rescue Americans knowing that their lives were at risk, they have forgotten the folks on the flight who battled to save their own lives.  It's a safe bet that they probably didn't know anyone who died that day personally.

So today I will remember, I will pray for those who are still struggling with the loss of their loved ones.  I will gather at lunch time with the fine folks of our local emergency services and pray for them and their safety and thank them for the job that they do.  What will you do today as you remember?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Youth Pastor's Work Schedule

Yesterday evening I was at a soccer game and football practice and I started thinking . . .

How flexible is your church with you?  It seems when I talk to other youth ministers who serve full time, and crazily enough even part time, that their church expects the youth minister to be incredibly flexible with his time but it doesn't always seem to work both ways.  Some have shared with me how they are expected to put in 40 hours in the office on top of events, attending games, Sunday worship as well as a mid-week youth service.  If you add up the hours that's probably close to a 70 hour work week.

Churches who expect their youth pastor to put in those kind of hours are asking for a burnt out, ready to quit, willing to move on, type of guy.   Churches who expect this of their youth pastor are, knowingly or unknowingly, hurting his family.  If his family and marriage isn't healthy there is no way he can be an effective minister.  

Thankfully NHC has priorities not focused on "office hours" but on ministry.  Our church loves to serve and minister.   From my experience here I will share a good approach to a youth pastor's work-week schedule:

  • 4 office days a week when possible
  • flexible hours with consideration of time out to games, events, activities (yesterday I knew I wouldn't get home till close to 8pm so I came in to work later in the day)
  • at least one day off a week (and someone needs to hold staff accountable to take their day off.  I'm not a work-a-holic so I usually don't have a problem taking my day off and most weeks two days.  I know my limitations and "stress" points)
  • minimum two weeks vacation from the get go and if a youth pastor is moving in from another church vacation time should move with him, he may be changing locations but is still working for the same God.  I can tell when it is time for vacation because I start to get a little mean and cranky.
  • Comp time after big youth events like summer camp, mission trips, retreats, etc.,  anything that pulls a YP from his family.  (after camp I usually work Sunday and one to two office days the following week)
  • Sabbaticals with pay.  At NHC staff can either take 5 weeks after each 5 years or 7 weeks after each 7 years.   This could be the secret to keeping church staff longer than a couple of years.  Rick has been here like forever.
Keep in mind that if you are a "part time" YP you can easily use up those hours on Sunday and Wednesday.  That's why it is always good to clarify expectations before coming on staff at a church.

So if you are the overworked youth pastor feel free to forward the link to this post to your senior pastor, personnel committee, or "accidentally e-mail it to the entire church ;).

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Team Contagious Youth

This Saturday our youth group has a team formed for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation's Great Strides walk.   A great way to teach students about getting involved in their community and helping those in need.

My personal goal is $500.00 and our team goal is $1000.00
If you would like to help us reach our goal or join the team please go to 


Monday, September 7, 2009

The President's School Speech

I read the speech and could not find anything offensive or wrong in it.  I don't know what all the hoop-di-stink is all about other than the people who are raising the stink just don't like President Obama at all.  Our schools even sent home a permission slip so parents could opt their children out of listening to the speech.  I can't see my 5 year old sitting still long to listen unless it is on in his room and he has some crayons and paper to mess with while listening.

The speech is  challenging students to apply themselves and do their best and be responsible.  Nothing offensive there.  I even appreciate several of his remarks that he will be making to students.  Perhaps the president's speech connect with some students and those students accept his challenge and do their best. 

In his speech our President will be bringing God into the public schools.  I find this interesting that our President can do this but I can't.  Maybe I should run for President . . . .
President Obama ends his speech with "God bless you, and God bless America."

I'm glad the White House posted the speech.  Read it yourself here

Labor Day

To all of you who serve in youth ministry, youth pastors, full-time, part-time, bi-vocational, and most importantly, Volunteers (let's hear it for the volunteers!):

1 Corinthians 15:58 

 58Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

"Stand firm" - God has place you where you are to minister to the students who cross your path.  Don't let the trials of life blow you over.  Don't let the negative folks in the church defeat you.  Stand firm in the Lord.  Know that He is the one who can give you the strength to stand.  

"Let nothing move you"nothing |ˈnəθi ng |pronoun - not anything; no single thing.  

"Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord" - Guard yourselves against the half baked, half hearted approach to youth ministry.  Protect yourself from burn out.

Why?  "Because you know your labor is not in vain." - You can't always see the fruits of your efforts but you are impacting lives.  You may never know how a conversation with a student may be just the thing they needed to get life back on track.  You may not realize that sitting week after week with students play Farkle makes a difference in their lives.  You may never know how important it is in that kid's life when you sit down at Taco Bell and have a taco with him.

Happy Labor Day!  Your labor is not in vain!  Keep ministering to students!

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