Monday, November 30, 2009

Last Night at Contagious

Great turn out of students last night!  

We had CHIP EXTRAVAGANZA!  I had boxes of chips I needed to get rid of so we put out 300 bags of chips and about 200 were consumed!!  Crazy!

The students enjoyed their time hanging out together with their leaders during Hang Time.  Some great ping pong games were played, students were out on the lot throwing the football, many just sitting around talking.  I look forward to the day that our youth room is complete so we can all hang in the same room during Hang Time.

Our lesson was compliments of Student Life.  We took a look in Genesis 1 at how God has provided for us.  He's given us this amazing planet to sustain our life.  He also gave us life and eternal life.  For what he has given us we should live a life of thankfulness and praise to him.
Cool thing about this lesson is that on the other side of the wall the Parent Pod were doing the exact same lesson together.  Hopefully this will spark some discussion time about thankfulness at home this week.

December will be a fun month for Contagious Youth.  This Sunday we have a Christmas Bible study.  The 13th is our annual Contagious Christmas Party, students will bring a cheap wrapped gift and their favorite Christmas party food.  The 20th is our annual Christmas Bowl (bowling, our biggest attended event last year).  The 27th is Holiday @ the Hut, students meet with me and some of their leaders at Pizza Hut for supper together.  All that followed by Winterfest.  

Monday, November 23, 2009

Last Night at Contagious

Last night our students delivered food boxes to 8 families who are in need.  These families received everything they need to cook a fantastic Thanksgiving dinner.  Students brought in the potatoes, corn, green beans, stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce.  Folks in the church donated the turkeys.  We delivered meals to one homeless family living in a hotel, several single moms, families with just a couple of family members all the way to families with 7 to 9 to feed.

After loading the boxes the students signed cards for the families and then spent time praying for the family before they left to deliver the box.  NHC also included some Food Lion gift cards in each box.

Students then returned to the building and talked about their mission outreach experience.  Then we had Hang Time together.  It was a great night teaching missions with a hands on experience.

Tomorrow I'll deliver two more meal boxes due to some confusion.  This was our first year to do this so we have learned a few things to make next year's Operation Turkey a smoother one.
Some things we picked up from last night's event:
  • Have a form for folks to submit families and then have one person responsible for processing those forms and organizing the info.
  • Have another person to call and let the family know that they will be receiving the groceries and ask for permission to drop the box by their home.
  • Assign two families per POD
  • Have directions for the drivers printed up on the back of the families info card.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Teaching Missions


We listen to the pastor say the word "missions" and we hear "grass hut, jungle, wicked snakes".
As parents part of our responsibility in discipling our kid is to teach them what missions really is all about.  As youth pastors we need to give students and parents the opportunity to experience missions first hand (together when possible).  There is no better teacher than experience.  

After we had a week long local missions project last summer I received an e-mail from a student who chose not to participate.  The student asked this question, "When are we going to go on a mission trip?"  Evidence that this student and many others aren't quite ready for a "missions trip" because they don't see reaching those around them as missions or as important.  Why?  Because they haven't learned.  Either the youth ministry isn't doing a good enough job communicating missions or parents aren't teaching their kids about missions or students are hearing but not listening.

I'm stoked about Sunday's Contagious.  Students have gathered all the food needed to deliver complete Turkey dinners to families who are in need.  Each POD is going to go with their leader, and a few spare parents, to a family's home and deliver the box.  Simply to say, "Happy Thanksgiving.  NHC youth cares about you and God loves you."

After delivery we will gather back at the building and the PODs will discuss their missions experience together.  Should be a great youth group gathering.

Monday, November 16, 2009

My Brother's Story

I went to my brother's baptism yesterday at Blue Ridge Community Church.  Here is my brother Scott's story.  It was a blessing to get to be there.


A Church Making an Impact

I have been attending church my entire life (43 short years) and in all those years the churches I attended had baptism services seemed like an afterthought or something to tag on right before the offering.  

The very 1st step in obedience as a believer, a follower of Christ, is to be baptized.  Christ set the example for us.  When we read about the birth of the church in the book of Acts we find that the early Christians believed and were baptized.

Since baptism is such a major moment in the life of a believer, the opportunity to make your followship a public declaration, how come it becomes an afterthought or a "tag on"?

Yesterday I once again attended Blue Ridge Community Church in Lynchburg, Va.  This church has exploded in the past several years in growth.  BRCC is making an impact in their community.  They are reaching the lost, they are meeting needs in their community.  Blue Ridge is far from traditional.  The moment you pull onto their campus you can see that they are intentional in what they do and they know why they exist as a church.

This is the first church I've attended that take baptism to a different level, not just incorporating it into the service they build the entire worship experience around baptism.  Both times I have attended a baptism service they have had a couple folks share their story.  The impact is more powerful than a sermon preached by a pastor following a baptism because real people sharing their real story, their encounter with Christ, is powerful.  You can check out BRCC's baptism service here, I'm sure they will have it posted and available on video on their podcast page soon.  Yesterday over 40 new believers were baptized!  BRCC has baptism services like this several times a year.  (BRCC's team of volunteers have a system down to a science, something to behold)

Yesterday's baptism worship experience for me and my family was extra special because we got to hear my brother's story and watch him be baptized.  An awesome time for our family.

One of the coolest things they do is baptize in a tank that is placed near the front of the stage and then family and friends can gather around the tank on the stage to be a part of the moment in the life of this new believer.  The baptizee is baptized by a friend or family member or pastor who has played a role in their faith walk.  Again a powerful witness to show the church that it is our responsibility to share our faith and the love of Christ with those we come in contact with.

How does your church "do" baptism?  
Is it time to perhaps re-think, evaluate and change so this important step in the life of a believer can have an impact on those who perhaps are on the edge of taking a huge step of faith by trusting in Christ as their Savior?

Friday, November 13, 2009

"Everybody Needs a Little Time Away"

I'm on vacation!  Taking an extra long weekend.  I needed it.  I'm not a work-a-holic and I can sure tell when I need to vacate for a while, rest, relax, reenergize.   I'm sitting here about to sip some hot apple cider with whip cream.  I watched a doe and her two fawns graze just a little bit ago.  I'm in no hurry, got nowhere to go (except the Texas Inn).

I drove white knuckled most of the day yesterday in the storm.  It was much worse inland that it was on the OBX.  It was a little unnerving for the first 3 hours.

Last night as I wound down I realized my throat was pretty sore, then the chills set in, fever.  No fun!  Rough night of sleep and I probably kept Misha up as well.  So I spent the first hour of my first vacation day at a doctors office.  Great doctor, asked about our church and the OBX.  Prescribed me some drugs and after the drugs and a Goody powder I'm feeling much better.  I'm glad it's just a sinus infection and not H1N1.

So plans are just to do some chillaxin.  


Monday, November 9, 2009

Last Night at Contagious

Last night we had a great group of students hanging out during Hang Time.  I went up and chilled on the balcony with some of the students, including a guest who is checking things out.  

The Contagious Band kicked off Contagious with the song, We Shine.  It was rockin and a great song.  It's interesting to watch and see if the students are going to engage in worshipping in music or not.  We are new to having a band so some of the students are just getting the hang of it.

I taught the second lesson in the Thirsty series.  We looked at David, Moses, the nation of Israel, and Jesus.  One thing they all had in common was the fact that they had some wilderness experiences in their lives.  It seems that God often uses the wilderness times to teach us to thirst after Him and to strengthen us.  When in the wilderness we need to:
Stop - Students lives are busier than ever
Go to the Bible - we learned this from Jesus' wilderness experience
Pay Attention - Like Moses, God is trying to get a point across and prepare us for His use.
This coming Sunday I have reworked my lesson notes into a small group experience and the students will do the entire lesson in their PODs.

I hear stories from other youth pastors who serve in churches who don't get it.  They want youth group to be all about fun and games.  I love the fact that at Contagious we are able to accomplish both.  We have fun and we learn from God's Word, sometimes we do both at the same time ;).

I like doing lessons in a series because an important topic or subject can be picked apart and unpacked over several weeks.  The bummer is when a student misses a week they miss out on a key puzzle piece to the overarching theme and lesson.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Wingin It in Youth Ministry


Our Youth Ministry Team is wingin' it! Not wingin' youth ministry but we are going tonight to eat some wings! At this dinner meeting (over $.25 wings) I'm going to remind us about what we do and why we do it. There is a reason and a purpose behind all we do in youth ministry.

Here is a glimpse of what we are going to take a look-see at as we "wing" it:
>You are a youth minister (a shepherd).
>Your involvement in students' lives has an impact on them spiritually.
>You are part of God's plan for students' lives. That's huge!
>You are part of a team. Youth Ministry is a team effort.
>We aren't just wingin' it.
>Youth ministry can be messy (just like eating wings can be messy).

On a side note I hope to share with the team the proper way to eat wings.  Oh, yes, it's an art!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Winterfest



As a reminder to our parents and students - Winterfest balance is due on Sunday, December 13.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Trunk or Treat Update

Saturday night our church hosted a Trunk or Treat, we have been doing this for about 7 years now. NHC used to have a "Fall Festival" on Halloween night and children would come to the church in their costumes, play some games, eat some cupcakes and hear a Bible story. It was a good event for our church kids but was in no way reaching our community and wasn't growing. Our purpose as a church is to reach our community. So "Fall Festival" was scrapped and replaced with Trunk or Treat. The first year we had several cars set up with decorated trunks and had less than a hundred kids come through and each child received a gospel tract in their candy bag.

Trunk or Treat has grown from a dozen or so church partners involved in this out reach to around 100 partners participating on the trunk, traffic, food, set up, clean up and game teams. We went from just having a dozen trunks to 25 trunks, 4 big inflatable games, carnival type games, hot dogs, cotton candy, popcorn and drinks. The community can attend and there is no charge, not even for the food. Each child still receives a gospel tract in their candy bag.

This year we gave out about 1200 pounds of candy! We had around 2000 people from our community attend. Trunk or Treat is a way our church tells our community that we care for them. This is a great and fun event that NHC partners look forward to working together on each year.

Now it's time to evaluate and plan for TOT 2010!

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...