Monday, July 29, 2013

Baptism at the Beach

Last night our youth group gathered for our weekly youth group time.  During the summer we meet at the beach on Sunday evenings.   This gives us a break from the "routine" plus gets us out together in God's beautiful creation.  We love youth group at the beach.

Last night was fantastic.  We baptized three students!!  That's awesome!  Even more awesome is that 2 of the students were siblings who put their faith in Christ at camp.  Even more awesome we baptized their dad and he turned around and baptized mom and then both parents baptized their kids.  It was so great to get to witness this moment in this family.  We also baptized another young lady who was already a believer but had yet to follow Christ in baptism at her own choosing.

We had some parents bring food and turned it into a celebration.  Later I gathered the students together and was talked more about salvation and baptism.  It was a great night for our church.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The After Attack

I did some math while at camp last week.  I have taken kids to camp for 28 weeks of my life!  Great weeks, fun weeks, tiring weeks.

Last week I was given the honor to be the camp preacher at Camp Cale.  (Camp Cale staff brought their "A" game)  Camp Cale has made some great strides in the past several years.  Matt Thomas, the camp director, has a great vision for Camp Cale becoming a year round camp and conference center.  He shared the vision with me and I too see how Camp Cale has tremendous potential to be a top spot in eastern NC for church groups, couple retreats and youth events.

We had a great week at camp.  Several students put their faith in Jesus Christ, 4 from our own youth group (the first group to attend Cale as a "group").  Many students made things right with God, several were able to deal with some things from their past that they were holding on to, things that were keeping them from growing in their faith.

Always at camp I let the campers know on the last day that they are leaving camp.  When they leave the "bubble" of camp is where the rubber meets the road.  It seems that whenever a believer comes from a spiritual highpoint that the enemy is there waiting to knock them off their feet.

Same happens with us as youth ministers.  I came home from camp excited about the life change in students' lives and the great camp we experienced.  Wham!  I'm always tired after camp and it seems the older I get the longer it takes to get back to "normal".  This time I came back from camp and got a "bug".  It has wiped me out. 

We have to be aware, as youth ministers, that when we are walking with God the enemy looks for opportunity to attack.  He will attack when we are weak.  He will attack to attempt to move our focus from our spiritual victory.  It's not just the campers who have to be "on the ready" when returning from camp.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Contagious Youth On the Beach

Sunday night we had a great time together.  We had several guests, a couple of students who recently moved to the beach.  We picked up some pizzas and Mt. Dews and H2o's. 

Students spent about an hour hanging out, talking, playing in the ocean, building sand castles and body boarding.  Following hang time the students got into their PODz and discussed the week's lesson they did in their Rootworks book.  Each week there is a lesson from Philippians for the students to work through and answer questions.  We then get together and discuss the lesson and go through the verses and answers together.  It's great to see that many of them are actually taking the time during their summer to dig into the Word.  We are praying this creates a habit in their life.

Rootworks is put out by Simply Youth Ministry and is fully editable and you can make it your own.  I even attached a pdf version in a weekly parents update so they can follow along and even spark some discussion at home.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Today I was "Wowed"

I haven't blogged for a while.  I've been a tad bit busy writing messages for camp (8) and putting together a booklet for the campers complete with daily devotionals.

YouthMinistry360 has "Wowed" me today!  A couple of month's ago I ordered 10 books from them, "New", it is a great resource to give to both students who are new in their faith as well as for long time believers to use in their Hang Time with God.  I got an actual "thank you" card in the mail.  I never get mail! (except a few bills)

As I prepped for speaking at Camp Cale I thought this would be a great book to give to each camper.  In an e-mail to YM360 thanking them for thanking me I mentioned I was going to order 60 books for camp to give to each camper.  YM360 shoots back an e-mail with a discount coupon code for me to use!!

Next I put the word on FB that I was going to buy books for each camper and asked who wanted to help (getting creative when the budget is tight).  I had friends from as far away as Maui and the Big Island to as close as Virginia and around the corner donate money to buy the books.

The books were ordered  and in less than a week they sit here in my office waiting to go to camp.

Today, in the mail, I get a handwritten note from Lee at YM360 along with a Starbucks gift card!  In all my years of buying youth ministry resources I have never received a handwritten note of thanks and appreciation (much less a starbucks gift card).  I was "Wowed".

So here is my plug:  Youthministry360 has a desire to see students come to know Jesus Christ and for students to grow in their faith.  Check them out and see if there are some resources that would benefit your youth ministry.  I'm sold on YM360!  Not because of the Starbucks card but because I can tell by doing business with them that they are serious about impacting lives.

I'll also add that Lifebook sent us another 1500 free Lifebooks for our students to share.  I'll be giving one of those to each camper as well.

Side note:  I always receive great customer service from youthministry360, simply youth ministry, download youth ministry and Student Life Camps (when it comes to doing camp SL has it down).

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