Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Life Changing Decision

Some folks take months even years to make a decision.  I've been behind a few of them in the buffet line and they drive me nuts. 

There are times in life that we must decide and we must decide here and now without taking weeks, months or years to make our decision.  

I got the call on this day a year ago.  "Would you and Misha be interested in adopting  . . . twins?"  I was in an arena with several thousand students and their leaders getting ready to rock in the new year at Winterfest.

This is why it is important to know God's purpose and will for your life.  We knew that God wants us to be parents.  We knew that part of that plan is to use the miracle of adoption.  Did we know each step of the journey?  No, and we still don't.  This is why a life requires faith. 

It took us only a matter of few hours to make the decision, a life changing decision for us and for our family and for two little tiny lives.  I know people that take a longer amount of time to decide on what type of tires to buy for their car.  What a great decision we made!  Then came the wait and wonder.  

More to come on January 7. . .

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you a Merry Christmas!

This year we didn't go overboard buying presents. We have gone with a much simpler Christmas. You know what? Stress levels are much lower, bank account isn't tapped, credit card isn't maxed. Focus is where it should be. Celebrating the birth of our Savior and looking towards his coming again.

Pour some egg nog, pop Elf in the DVD player, bundle up in your snuggee and enjoy your Christmas.

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Call 2010

In 2010 The Call is undergoing a "remodel".  February 19-20 youth workers can bring the students who are leaders or have a leadership potential.  This means The Call will be smaller this year and a more intimate setting.  

MP13 Band will be leading us in worship.  Worship times will include music, video, teaching, small group discussion.  All students and leaders will be assigned a round table for discussion and team building exercises.

Another youth event weekend may impact a handful of student's lives.  A weekend where core students are challenged and equipped to be leaders in their youth group, school, home and work has the potential to have a much larger and longer lasting impact.  

For more details check out The Call's web site.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Blessing of an Awesome YM Team

It is a huge blessing to work with a team of adults who love investing into the lives of students.  Only once in recent years have I had to miss a youth group gathering due to illness but there are times that I have scheduled absences.  Last year I was out a couple months on sabbatical and the YM team worked together, as they always do, and the ministry to students kept rolling.  I miss a few each year for vacation time. 

This past Sunday night I missed Hang Time because I had the privilege of praying at the MHS football banquet.  I had a great time this year serving as MHS football's "chaplain".  So when I arrived at the church at 6pm the YM team had assembled the students together into the auditorium and had begun the game of dirty Santa.   Our kitchen queens did a wonderful job of taking care of the food and punch for the party.  Everything flowed during Hang Time as it normally does because our YM team is stinkin awesome.  All I had to do was show up.

Some thoughts for youth pastors:
1.  Don't do ministry alone
2.  Equip the team
3.  Trust the team to do the ministry
4.  Let people serve (you don't have to be the one that does it all)
5.  Be thankful for the team 
6.  Pray for the team

I am not the youth minister at NHC, I am one of the youth ministers at NHC.  I wouldn't want it any other way.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Adoption Decree

Misha and I are stoked! Today we received in the mail the adoption decrees for the twins. It's official, the judge says they are ours now. Praise God for these two little precious gifts. Eli is full of happiness and laughter. Ava gives me little grins that melt my heart. New Year's Eve a year ago we got the call asking if we would be interested in adopting again . . . .twins. We have been blown away how God has orchestrated our lives and the lives of our children. It amazes me how God, in his divine wisdom and sovereignty has put our family together. Our next hurtle is to pay our balance on our adoption fees. We know that God has that all figured out already.

Christmas this year will be extra special. Even as I type I hear the laughter and giggles of my daughter. There is much joy in our home and we thank God for the joy that only He can give.

Carol of the Bells iPhone Style

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

What are we teaching?!

What are we teaching our children, our students, about Christmas?   Yes giving and getting gifts is fun but could there be more to it?  Could we be feeding our kids the consumer mentality and creating giant consumers who go through life saying, "Give me.  Give me.  Give me."?  I personally know of parents who will go in debt at Christmas to buy their kids the latest and greatest.  What about teaching our children how to be content with what we have?  To be content with what God has blessed us with.  What about teaching our children that it's not wise to go into debt to buy the Wii, XBox, iPod Touch, 60 inch plasma?  Do you not find great joy in life when you give in such a way that you actually help someone meet a need?

The Advent Conspiracy has recently been brought to my attention.   The more I think about it and the more I look into the more I'm getting sold on the idea that we have it all wrong.  What a great way to teach our children to be compassionate human beings.  

Monday, December 7, 2009

Happy Birthday To Our Twins!

Today the twins are 11 months old!  Happy Birthday "Fred and Wilma".  Eleven months ago today God blessed our family with the addition of these two little bundles of joy.

Last Night At Contagious

Last night we punched through a plateau.  We seem to have been stuck around a certain number at Contagious.  Hopefully we will be able to keep up the momentum through the Christmas holiday and see the group continue to grow as students are reaching out to their friends.

Some of the youth ministry team and students have been playing some sort of whacked out ping pong game and the popularity of this game is growing each week.  Last night it was very entertaining to watch.    Other students played games and hung out during Hang Time.  

Our lesson was centered on the fact that Christ's arrival to earth was all part of God's plan from before time began.  We took a look at Isaiah 7:14-16.  Students wrote the initials of a friend who doesn't know God, or will not experience real joy this Christmas, on a ribbon to hang in their room to remind them to pray for this person during the Christmas season.

In January we are planning a new series about the life God intends for us as believers.  It's a 3 week series and we are going to end with the last night as an outreach night where students will be encouraged to bring their friends who don't attend church or a youth group.  On that night we will share the good news of Jesus Christ and God's love very plainly and simply giving students the opportunity to respond to God's invitation to know Him.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Call To Lead

Early Bird Special!  Register by December 1 and receive $15 off the regular registration fee of $40.
Not So Early Bird Special - $35 per person if you register between December 2nd and January 2nd.
Procrastinator's Special - $40 after January 2nd.

This year The Call has been remodeled and is focusing on students who are leaders or have the potential to be leaders in the youth group.  The Call is not for entire youth groups and is not an outreach event.  So only plan on bringing your handful or so of student leaders.   

If someone told me I had only $40 to invest into our youth ministry what would I do with that $40?

Would I buy $40 in tracts?  No.
Would I buy a couple of youth ministry books?  No
Would I have lunch with a team member?  Tempting, but no.

I would invest that $40 into a student in the youth group who is showing leadership potential.  
This would be the biggest pay off from the investment.  This student would be sharpened as a leader and
then in turn invest back into the youth ministry through serving, outreach, setting the example, leading peers.  

Are you raising up leaders in your church’s youth group?  Are you equipping them, teaching them, training them to use their influence with their peers?  The result of doing so is growth, personal growth for the student, growth in the youth group, growth from outreach.

Every youth group has at least one student with the potential to be a leader or a student who is already leading but could use some equipping to lead even better.
I would encourage you to take advantage of the savings and register at least two or three today.

Some ideas on covering the cost for these leaders:
  • They pay themselves (not the best but a possibility)
  • Recruit adult Sunday School Classes to sponsor students.  Sell the idea that investing in leaders will have the biggest return in the youth ministry and church.
  • Chili Dinner
  • Love Offering
  • Approach some of the “movers and shakers” in your church and ask them to personally invest into the church’s youth ministry by investing into a student’s life.
Register at

Registration covers:
Friday night supper
Saturday lunch
and a copy of: Help!  I'm a Student Leader - Doug Fields

For more details and info check out or call Andy at 252-441-7548

Made the Top 40 Youth Ministry Blogs

My blog made #30 out of the top 40 youth ministry blogs according to I don't know what that means but "thanks!&quo...