Monday, January 30, 2017

No Retreat!

For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. 
 Ephesians 6:12

We cannot back down.
We are in a battle for the  souls and lives of these students God has given to us to serve. 
They aren't perfect, they struggle, they can be apathetic, they can be on fire for God, they can be a baby believer. It's not easy to serve such a broad spectrum but it's what we have been called to do.

If I'm to do battle I must first make sure I'm suited up in the armor of God.  
I must find strength in Him.  
I must allow his Spirit to work through me.

The next time you feel like throwing in the towel remember the battle is not with the apathetic student, it's not with the disinterested parent. 
It's a spiritual battle and you are on the front line. 
No retreat. 
Dig in and stand firm.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Planning a Mission Trip?

We will be returning to the island of Eleuthera in June for our third mission trip with our student ministry.  The majority of our mission team are veterans to the Eleuthera trip but we have a sprinkling of newbies.  To find out more about this great mission trip check out their site at Camp Bahamas Missions.

When I started out planning our first foreign mission trip I wasn't sure exactly how to go about planning and organizing.  I received some guidance from CB Missions but also found some valuable tools here at DYM. 
This kit, Mission Trip Nuts and Bolts had some great resources for planning and organizing.  It only cost $10 and is fully customizable.

I created excel spreadsheets to form the mission trip budget then I created a sheet for each participant to track the funds they turned in for the trip.  I also used a spreadsheet to check off for their passport turned in and each medical release, both our ministries release and Camp Bahamas release.

While on the trip we use devotional journals from LeaderTreks.  You can find the journals here.

We have used these journals which are great because they provide each participant with a morning quiet time and teaches students how to study the Bible at the same time.   There is also room in each journal for reflecting and evaluating each day.

It's vital to used the opportunity of pulling students away from their culture and normal everyday life to get them to go deeper into God's Word on their own and to think about their participation on the mission trip each day.

I make sure we schedule into our day of doing missions time for students to spend in the Bible and prayer.  Yes we are there to serve and do missions but we must also take time to refuel spiritually and possibly help some of our students start a daily discipline that could shape and impact their life.

We have had two great trips to Eleuthera and had little to no drama or problems among our team.  We have meetings several times before leaving for the trip.  In these meetings we cover details, culture, expectations, servant's attitude.  This extra effort before the trip can really help the trip flow smoothly and promotes unity in the team.  Prep before hitting the mission field is a key element to success.

Flexibility!   We can go with out plan and schedule but find out upon arrival that all that is out the window.  Flexibility on the mission field is a must.  Make sure your students understand this.  The two things that are must haves are an ability to be flexible and a servant's heart, willing to do what needs to be done.

Parent's want to know what is happening with the mission trip and mission team.  I include them in all emails to the team.  I also created a free one page web site using Wix and there I have the meeting schedule, the release forms, travel itinerary, supply and packing lists.  While on the mission field when possible and if possible I try to post a pic each day and let the parents and church know how we are doing.

Communication after the trip can boost your support for your next trip.  Create a slideshow or video and post it online, show it church, show it at youth group.  We have made, in the past a short version and a long version.  The church wants to know about the success of their investment.

I don't do this alone.  I've been blessed each trip to have a few adults come along on the adventure with me.  We take adults from our student ministry team.  That's just our preference because the adults and students already have a relationship.  We have also taken an adult or two who weren't on the team.  Our adults are there as advisors and we let the students lead on the field.  Not every adult has that ability so it is good to have conversations with potential leaders and explain expectations and details in advance.  They also participate in all the pre trip meetings.

I'm currently planning my first adult/family trip to take adults and families from our church.  This will be a first for me.  I took our family last August to get an idea of how it might work out.  My plan is to use some of what we use for our student trips with our adult/family team.

Where are you going on mission this year?

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Project Care4Kids

I'm so stoked about a new outreach we are starting here at Nags Head Church!  I know that many of us who serve on staff in churches sort of have an entrepreneurial spirit.  So when there is something new I get to be involved in I get excited.

In 2015 there were 670,000 children in foster care in the United States.  Unfortunately this number is growing each year.  We aren't, as a nation, making headway in helping parents to be better parents.  What is the church doing about it?  In our church we have some who are foster parents and some who have been in the past.  We are encouraging more to get involved.

But what can we do as the church to help meet immediate needs in foster care?  Our church is launching a new outreach to the community, Project Care4Kids. 
Project Care4Kids has four areas of focus:
  1. Encouraging people to be foster parents
  2. Meeting temporary needs of foster children and their foster parents
  3. Supporting our local crisis pregnancy center
Supporting and promoting adoption
This past Sunday I was able to bring the message in "big church" and our focus was on sanctity of life.  At the end of the message I called the church to action and had an overwhelming response.  We asked them to respond on a communication card.  I have a big stack of these cards on my desk  right now.  We asked people to commit to prayer, giving financially, meeting practical needs, going on mission trips, adopting and foster parenting.  Many indicated they would pray and most committed to other areas as well, even adoption and foster parenting!  The response is overwhelming.

One element of this new outreach/ministry is really going to make in impact in our community.  We formed a team of volunteers from our church (over 30 committed to this on Sunday) who will put together backpacks for foster kids.  These backpacks will be packed according to different age ranges.  In the pack will be age appropriate toys, stuffed animal, school supplies, toothbrush, toothpaste, body wash, shampoo, etc.   Local foster parents will be able to call a "hotline" number, set it up on google voice, when they get the call that they will be receiving a child in their home.  So when they get the call that at 7pm social service will be bringing them an 8 year old foster child they can then turn and call us and someone from our team will drop the back pack to their house.  We will also drop a duffle bag because many of these kids show up with all their belongings in a trash bag.  A trash bag!  What message does this send to the child?  We will also let the foster parent know we are available to help with other needs if they let us know, clothes, shoes, coats, etc.

We will be having in March a Project Care4Kids launch party.  We will gather together on a Saturday morning and divide up supplies, organize and pack backpacks and duffle bags.  We will be also making a "no sew" fleece blanket for each child and teen.  It's going to be a fun time of serving together, building relationships and meeting needs.

We are getting going on this new outreach.  We aren't sure how it will all work out, we don't have all the answers but we are willing to dive in and do something, to put feet to our prayers.
If you would like to know more about this outreach project please feel free to contact me.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Focusing in on One on One Discipleship

This year our volunteer team if going to focus on one on one discipleship.  We have taken our group of students and divided them up among our leaders, including myself.  The goal is to take advantage of the moments at Student Church to ask questions, encourage, pray with the students.

My brain thinks in pictures, I learn and process better with pictures and flow charts.  I have taken what we are going to do and created a graphic using MindNode.  MindNode allows me to map out what is going on in my noggin, which can be a scary place at times.

I hope this will get you to thinking about how your student ministry team can best invest and disciple students.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Setting Goals

New year and fresh start.  It’s the time of the year we make unrealistic resolutions that we don’t carry through and then feel defeated then we give up.  I stopped doing this a long time ago.

In student ministry this is a great time to think about where the ministry is heading over the next year and then set goals.

Are your ministry goals in line with your church’s vision and purpose?

I’m waiting to set my goals because we have an elders retreat coming up and I want to set goals that line up with the direction the church is heading in the new year.  Some student ministries have goals that don’t line up with the church’s direction.  Student ministry is a part of the church and not a separate entity so it should be in sync with the direction of the church.

Several years ago I learned about SMART goals.  I love this concept!


Specific.  A goal that is well defined and clear to anyone that may read the goal.

Make sure the steps of the goal are clear and the progress can be seen.

Agreed Upon
Do you serve with a team?  Are your volunteers in agreement with the goals for the student ministry?  If possible make them part of the process, if that’s not possible make sure they are well informed of the goals and their role in achieving the end results.

Will you have the resources, knowledge and ability to achieve the goal?  Make sure the goal is realistic.  A goal that is not realistic will leave you feeling like you failed.

Allow yourself enough time to achieve the goal.  Make sure the goal has an end date.   A goal that is not time-based will not receive the attention it needs to be accomplished.

What are your goals for 2017?

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