Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Discipleship of Our Kids

Deuteronomy 6 is clear that the discipleship of our children is our responsibility as parents. So over the next few weeks I'm going to blog about discipleship. I believe that to be spiritually healthy I must be spiritually balanced. Same goes with my children as I "train them up". So much of my posting will be from a dad's point of view. Some of the areas of discipleship that I will post about are:

  • Sharing faith
  • Spiritual disciplines
  • Serving the body of Christ
  • Fellowship with the church
  • Worshipping God in life

Questions I will look at:
  • Do I teach by my example?
  • What is our family's priority?
  • What does the Bible teach about fellowship?
  • What effect will this have on my grandchildren?
We all teach by our example that is why how we out live life is so important.
My family has priorities. What are they? Have I listed them out? How we spend our time and money as a family is a good reflection of our priorities. If we are going to teach our kids to follow Christ then the Bible is the best place to start. How we parent and disciple our own children will have a direct effect on how they disciple and parent their children. So what we do today, as a parent, has an impact on our family for generations to come. No pressure there, huh?

I will wrap up each post by stepping out of the role of dad and putting on the hat of youth pastor and weighing in as a fellow youth leader in the trenches.

Hopefully this will be a helpful little journey for some, mainly me.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Youth Group Now Owns Property in Nepal


Not really! BUT ten of our students rocked in rocking chairs last Friday night from 7pm till 7am to raise money to help an orphanage in Nepal that Tammy Stump, partner at NHC, is helping to build. She is literally going to make the bricks to build the buildings as well as purchase the land and all involved to help these children.

We survived the rock-a-thon by drinking slushies all night, mango/orange spiked with Red Bull. I had at least 15!!

I'm stoked that these 10 students could see how they could do mission work without leaving home or even their rocking chair. The children who live in this orphanage are about to experience a move to a much better setting, out of the big city and to a small village. Our ten students got some hands on mission experience. I pray that the rock-a-thon was more than just a fun night for them and a glimpse at the difference that they can make in another human's life.

Here is a pic of the land!





Monday, March 29, 2010

Last Night at Contagious

We wrapped up our series on "All Our Belongings". Hopefully some of the students have been inspired to reach out to others as Christ did. We belong to God, we belong to each other, others are searching for where they belong. Let's help them find their belonging.

We had a great group of students last night. It may have been the first time in a few months that we did not have any guests. That was a bit weird and a little unnerving for me. The tendency I have seen in the flow of youth ministry is that in the spring when things start to warm up and spring sports kick in we see a slight drop in participation from week to week.

Indoor corn hole is quickly becoming the youth group's new favorite. We have now met for Hang Time all together in the auditorium for 3 weeks. I like the change and from informal surveys of students they like it as well.

Here is where we are headed this spring. We will be doing 3 weeks of study and discussion based on the Louie Giglio passion talk series, The Heart of Passion. I'm looking forward to integrating Louie's video messages into our youth group study time.

Following the Heart of Passion series we are going to do a 3 week series based on Facebook. Lately I've seen some interesting updates on Facebook pages as well as groups that are being joined. Nathan, our worship leader, and I were talking about this last week and he had the brilliant idea of doing some teaching about Facebook. It's still formulating in my head and I hope to come up with some great discussion questions for the Pods as well as some discipleship devo stuffs for parents to do with their teen. So far the direction I think we are going is:
  • You Are Who You Associate With (friendships and witness)
  • What You Type is No Different from What You Say (out of the heart the mouth speaks)
  • You're Not Anonymous (your testimony to others; FB can be a window to who you really are)
As the Facebook lessons formulate I'll post some of the graphics and outlines.

After Facebook series is my favorite time of the year and that is Contagious on the beach. We will meet all summer on the beach for youth group as we have done the past several years. I love meeting at the beach. Lots of fun with the students, great hot dogs, volleyball, Bible study and of course the Parent Pod in their beach chairs.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A Gift from our Government

The US Census Rep for faith based organizations stopped by the office today bearing gifts. A backpack of little goodies for pastors and church leaders. Nathan and I took the opportunity to pose with our favorite gifts from the goody bag.
So I say to you, "Esta en nuestras manos!"


Monday, March 22, 2010

Communicating with Parents

We launched our new and improved weekly update for parents today. It shot out to the www on it's own automatically at 11am. I look forward to using this new tool. Hopefully the new layout will help communicate what is going on. The best part is the e-mail can be forwarded to other parents who can sign up to receive the update each week. Hopefully this will be used as a tool to reach parents who are seeking answers and also looking for something positive and life impacting for their teen.

You can check out the web version here

For a few weeks now, in our old regular e-mail format, I have been asking parents to get involved in the Rock-a-thon this Friday night without any response. Today I got several responses. Could it be the new layout? I like to think so.

Last Night at Contagious

So we have started something new. Last night for the second week in a row we did both Hang Time and our Bible study time all in the auditorium. We moved the chairs out. Set up the cornhole and ping pong as well as many tables with games for Hang Time. It is fun all being in the same room together for Hang Time instead of spread out through the lobby and balcony. (hopefully a taste of what our new youth room will be like)

Our lesson was all about not being fake with God. Makes no sense. God knows us better than anyone. It's time to be honest with God and strive to keep that connection with him strong so we are producing good fruit.

We had a couple of guests last night. One was a return guest from the week before and the other was the result of a conversation a certain hot dog caterer had with him at lacrosse.

Our youth worship band, Contagious, led worship last night up the road in Kitty Hawk at their youth night for their spring revival services. John Cash from WAVY 10 was the guest preacher. I hear the band did a great job. It was their first outing away from our youth group and church.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Spiritual Formation

Ultimately God will hold me, as my kids' daddy, responsible for their spiritual formation. The spiritual instruction they receive has to come from me. It is not their kids' church teachers responsibility or their youth leaders responsibility. God will not hold me accountable as a youth pastor for the spiritual formation of other believer's children. He will hold me accountable as a pastor and my role and duties (equipping the saints for ministry).

The trap that many Christian parents have fallen into is the idea of "I'll take my kid to church and they can learn about God there." The other side of the spectrum is the "I don't want to force this on my kids." Both are unhealthy approaches. So as a parent what is my responsibility? Deuteronomy 6

  • Love God with everything I've got
  • Know God's Word (be a student of the Bible)
  • Be a positive example of God's Word
  • Impress God's Word on my kids' hearts (the idea of sealing their hearts)
  • Talk about God and His Word in our everyday life
  • Center our home on God
The earlier we start this in our children's life the easier it is to carry through life, even into their teen years. At NHC each week our kids go home with a map book that they can work together with their parents on. The wise parent takes advantage of this fantastic tool.

For parents of teens who have not been doing this it will take extra effort to get this going at home. Each week I e-mail parents some scripture and discussion questions for them to read and talk about with their kids during the week. This discipleship devotion ties in with our lesson on Sunday nights at Contagious. If parents do this with their teen they are laying a foundation that gets reinforced at Contagious.

So how are you doing in the spiritual formation in your child's life?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

No Turf Wars


Today I met with young Rich at lunch. Rich used to be a youth in our youth group and now Rich and his wife, Lauren (also formerly an NHC youth and Rich married way out of his league), and now both serve on our YM Team at NHC. Rich and I met to discuss some youth ministry as well as just to eat. We went to The Pit for lunch, tuesdays are dollar tacos all day, and they are well worth the money.

Across the room was another youth pastor and a friend. We stopped and said "Hi". Later the waitress brought us our receipt, not bill. There was a note on the back:
"Jesus paid the price for us!
Jamie and I paid for your lunch . . .
Just trying to be like Jesus!"

A great blessing to young Rich and I. It's cool to be blessed by other Christians, especially some from another church.

Too often in youth ministries there are "turf wars" between churches. Churches who get to wrapped up in the numbers game rather than being concerned about expanding the kingdom. It's nice to be able to be in a community where we most churches don't have that attitude or are in the business of sheep stealing. What these two gentlemen did for me at lunch was more than just feeding me a great lunch. They showed me their philosophy of ministry and mission. Super cool!

What Happens in The Green Room May Not Stay in The Green Room

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Happy to Suffer

and they called the apostles back in. They had them beaten with a whip and warned them not to speak in the name of Jesus. Then they let them go. The apostles left the council and were happy, because God had considered them worthy to suffer for the sake of Jesus. (Acts 5:41-42)

How happy would you be if you suffered for Christ. Here in America we aren't beaten for our faith in Christ, we aren't tortured for what we believe. At times we run into some who are hostile towards Christianity, so in turn they can be hostile towards us. Our response can be either to have a pity party for ourselves or to be like the apostles and be happy.

If we suffer anything for our faith it's a good thing. At least someone is taking notice.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Stereotypes

Let me start off by saying I was convicted and cleaned my desk.
I had a goatee before youth pastors began to grow facial hair.
I don't play video games because I stink at video games.
I'm not cool nor do I dress cool.
I have never lost the church van, but I did lose a kid once. (we found him chasing the van as we were leaving the parking lot)

Monday, March 1, 2010

Where Do I Belong?


Last night we kicked off a new series, "All of my belongings".
Ever been part of an organization, a team, a club, a group and still feel all alone?
That's what we tackled last night. We looked at the World's view of this. All the world can offer is cravings. Those cravings leave us wanting more but never finding true satisfaction. Basically all the world leaves us with is this fear of loneliness.
The Bible's response is the fact that we belong, as followers of Christ, to God. We are to love God and to love others. We love others as we love ourselves. Perhaps the reason that some youth groups and churches struggle with truly loving others as Christ did is because we have youth groups and churches filled with folks who don't love themselves.

This year, 2010, Contagious Youth will be really working on loving others and showing mercy as Christ did. I strongly believe that if we do this successfully our church will be packed with students because there are a lot of students out there searching to find where they belong.

Next week: I belong to God

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...