Wednesday, January 31, 2007

How do you spell dumb?

The other night we were eating dinner and Julie asked Noah, "How do you spell dumb?" Don't ask why! Noah's learning to spell and it's so fun to watch him learn new words.

Noah paused for a minute, looked up in the air and then back at Julie and spelled it out, "D-----A-----D." Julie laughed.

I withered in the chair and may never recover from this horrific moment.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Using Power Point in Student Ministry

Seth Godin had a great post recently about how to use Power Point in your presentation. I love what he says and think his suggestions should be practiced by those of us in student ministry.

Really Bad PowerPoint

Here are four suggestions for a great presentation.

First, make yourself cue cards. Don’t put them on the screen.

Second, make slides that reinforce your words, not repeat them.

Third, create a written document. A leave-behind.

Fourth, create a feedback cycle.

I've quit putting all of the Bible Verses I use on the screen when I teach. The only verse that goes on the screen is the Bible memory verse for the week!

Seth's comments run in line with our training we received in the Essential Presentation Skills class from Mike out of the Zig Ziglar Corporation. He suggested that PowerPoint presentation isn't the presenter, you are!

Be Real Highlights

I thank God for the times we have in our student ministry to get away from our daily routines. Here are the highlights.

- Our leaders. I am so blessed to serve alongside these people! It was awesome watching them do ministry.
- The theme of Be Real really struck a cord in the hearts of our students.
- The facility. It's simply amazing. Crooked Creek Ranch. Young Life knows how to build a camp.
- Networking with other youth workers in our district.
- Participating in and leading a session on Real Family "Divorce"- It was a powerful time of listening to the stories of students and drawing out the realities of what it's like to live in a home where your parents are divorced.
- The senior dinner at Smokin Joe's BBQ. Great time! Downside - the key to the van wouldn't open the door. No clue. AAA opened us up on Sunday before so we could get the van home.
- Seeing our students interact with the parable of the soils.
- Great food.
- Sunshine all weekend.
- One of our SGC teams took 2nd in the dodgeball tourney.

Finally, knowing that this weekend will be a spiritual marker for several of our students as they reflect back on their lives in our high school ministry.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Be Real Winter Retreat

Today we leave for our Winter Retreat! Our theme is Be Real. I can't wait to connect with the 13 other churches that are attending. I can't wait to eat Doritos at 1:00 a.m. I can't wait to hear Dave Runyon speak and be led into the presence of God by 519. Most importantly, I can't wait to see spiritual movement in the lives of our students. I can't wait for them to take off their masks! I can't wait to see some students come out of hiding. I can't wait to follow up this retreat in February in our small groups and Sunday mornings. This is my 12th retreat since I started working at Southern Gables Church and I am more fired up than I have ever been to care for our students! This is just one small step we are taking as we help our students become faithful followers of Jesus Christ!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Teaching students to HATE

Scot McKnight dealt with a verse that I love to use in student ministry today HERE in his reflections on Psalm 119. The verse is Psalm 119:104,

"I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path."

It's not just about making sure our students get on the right path - behavior modification. Part of getting on the right path is having the Word of God so saturated into their day that it causes a decision to HATE the wrong path and not go down it. So here's to infusing the word HATRED into our student ministries?! Here's to infusing the Word of God at every juncture we have with students. Here's to our students remembering that we always pointed them to the word of God and not our opinions.

When I find myself liking the wrong path, and even going down it, there is a clear absence in my life of gaining understanding from God's Word throughout the day! Picture -

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Notability for HIM

Seth Godin had an excellent post that got me thinking,

"I got a note from a friend about a co-worker that brilliantly summed up the chasm facing marketers today: I believe she is good at the standard but limited in considering the notable"

So many student ministry workers are good at the standard.
So many student ministry workers can run the programs.
So many student ministry workers are just good.
So many student ministry workers consider the notable.
So many student ministry workers consider the notable for their promotion.
So many student ministry workers consider the notable to look important to their peers, etc...

Where are the student ministry workers who are tired of the standard and breakout in considering the notable for the Glory of God? Where are those that aren't considering the notable for their self-glorification, but genuinely shining a light on HIM. Where are the student ministry workers who are considering the notability of the God whom we "move in and have our being?" Where are the youth worker's who are more concerned about the notability of the their King who said He would build His earthly church and could easily replace us? Where is the notability of God shining in our ministries to students?

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Stimulating faithfulness

Our lead pastor shared this quote in the context of his sermon on 1 Peter 4:1-6 this Sunday and I haven't stopped thinking about it!

John Stott wrote, "To live, work and witness in conscious anticipation of Christ’s (second-coming) and judgment is a wholesome stimulus to faithfulness." (J.R.W. Stott, The Contemporary Christian: Applying God’s Word to Today’s World, 373)

The new thought for me this week has been the combination of the glory of His second coming, which always gets the press, and the glory of His judgment.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Student Ministry is like this iceberg

Our programs are the tip of the iceberg. They wouldn't be possible with out the mass of ice below it. I wonder what our youth ministries look like below the surface of the water?

I wonder how deep they go? I wonder how compelling they are? I wonder how many youth pastors are more in love with God than the number of students who came on Sunday morning or on a Wednesday night?

I wonder how many youth pastors pray through their roster? I wonder how many youth pastors are loving God's Word and communing with Jesus?

The tip may be beautiful, but it's only the tip. The real beauty is what is seen below. Imagine a student ministry that consistently called students to dive off the tip of the iceberg under the surface to find something they wouldn't believe was there unless they saw with their own eyes.

Friday, January 19, 2007

New Orleans - A Movement focused on the Gospel

Before we headed into our time in New Orleans several of us thought one of the outcomes was going to be a decision to embrace the emerging church movement or walk away from it. Several of us thought we were going to be asked whether or not that's where we saw the denomination heading. Well, we were wrong. When asked what direction we wanted to see the denomination headed we spoke of the centrality of the Gospel being our clarion call as we move forward. We discussed our denomination being know for keeping the Gospel as our central focus. We talked about being a denomination that didn't just focus on the personal nature of the Gospel, but also on the social implications the Gospel. We talked about our denomination not being known as a denomination, but as a movement. We were dreaming of a MOVEMENT of churches who were exploding with the Gospel as the engine in the church, driving it towards justification, sanctification and glorification! Driving it towards racial reconciliation. Driving it towards impacting our communities. Driving it towards planting more churches! Driving it towards an acceptance of the rewrite of our doctrinal statement.

Time will tell!

I Need Surgery Just Like Matt

I have the results from my MRI and it looks like I am going to have surgery sometime this year! What's crazy, is Matt Hasselbeck, quarterback of the Seattle Seahawks, just had this exact surgical procedure. He had the labrum on his left shoulder repaired yesterday. It tore in 2003. I tore my this past summer. I'm not waiting 4 years for surgery! It's apparently a brutal recovery (6 months). I am thinking about having this surgery around late November this year as our student ministry slows down in December! This story is funny because I didn't even know we had labrum's in our shoulders! Here's to more co-pays!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

A great tool to use with seniors

This morning Scot McKnight posted on something he did with his class, Women, Mary and Jesus, out of the book by William Webb, Slaves, Women, and Homosexuals, that I think would be a GREAT exercise to do with graduating seniors HERE! I am going to use this during my senior study this spring. Here's a quote from his blog,

"We read these verses [39] and I asked the students to “vote” for each verse: A, B, or C. That is, “A” means “universal and transcultural,” and “B” means “Christians don’t agree” and “C” means “Cultural and not for Christians today.”

Here's why I like this exercise. After voting we will discuss the votes for C as a group and it will help me see where individual thinking patterns and the group thinking patterns are, if any, as to what the redemptive trend is on some of these that lack clarity! I can't wait.

Thanks Scot!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Guess who is living in New Orleans?

Pitt and Jolie! - CNN reports HERE!


Today we toured the lower 9th Ward District that was devastated by Katrina with the brothers from Urban Impact Ministries. I just sat there listening to Michael describe what happened. I couldn't believe it. Houses used to line the streets and now there is nothing. I listened to John, a pastor in the community, tell how only 5 families in three blocks have moved back into their neighborhood and it's been hard on his four kids. Enitre neighborhoods are gone. One storm changed the future of a city.

They anticipate needing youth ministries and adult teams coming every week for the next five years (up to 60 people a week) to get back on their feet. The EFCA is doing a great job of assisting this ministry and others to help Restore and Rebuild the city and the lives of those who call New Orleans there home. More info HERE.

We were challenged by John to consider the 16th verse from Jeremiah 22 before we laid hands on them and prayed for their ministry,

"16 He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" declares the LORD."

First time in church...Eyes Wide OPEN

I had an experience on Sunday morning that grabbed my heart and literally brought a tear to my eye later in the day as I was driving to DIA to fly down here to New Orleans. We had a fresh face in the crowd on Sunday. They never go to church. They didn’t grow up in the church. Sunday wasn’t a routine for them. Their parents didn't bring them. They came with their friend who attends our gathering times on Sunday mornings. At one point in my message I noticed they were sitting forward in their chair listening to the Word of God being read out of Isaiah 40:12-31. It was their first time in church...their EYES were WIDE OPEN!

Two observations, among several that brought water to my eyes later in the day. First, it was so exciting to know that the Word of God was being planted in a soul that never goes to church. Student ministry must be saturated in the Word! Second, I want more of that in our student ministry. I want more of our students choosing to lose themselves for Christ in their schools and inviting their friends who never go to church to attend our gatherings. The Word of God doesn’t return void and this week I’ve been praying that those seeds from Isaiah will take root their heart!

Monday, January 15, 2007

N.O. Observations

So many observations on day 1 here in New Orleans.

1. They community wanted to host the NFC Championship game this week. It
would of brought in around 4-5 million to this economy. They are going crazy
over this team.
2. An African-American brother who lives and serves down here stated that it has been the church, not the local or federal government, who is rebuilding this city.
3. We had a discussion about the book The Shaping of Things to Come. Specifically, we talked about whether we think the church should pursue evolution (birthing a new movement from where it’s been) or revolution (blow it up and start over).
4. I had my first bowl of Crawfish Etouffee. JACKPOT!
5. Crabcakes…mmmmmm!
6. Spending 2 hours with Fritz. It was great to connect.
7. States represented from around the country – California, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, West Virginia, Louisiana, Texas, North Dakota and Minnesota.
8. There are youth pastors, church planters, urban inner-city youth workers, a worship pastor, a senior pastor and a missions pastor.
9. The cold is following us from Denver. Tomorrow it’s going to be in the low 40’s.
10. Tim Jacobs is my roommate from Arizona. He's a church planter!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Off to New Orleans

I am excited for what the next three days hold in New Orleans. About 15 young leaders from across the denomination, from various ministry positions, are gathering to talk about the shaping of things to come in our denomination (EFCA). I am looking forward to processing what we discuss, what God will reveal to us, and the new relationships I will make.

Friday, January 12, 2007

A Portrait of Generation Next

The Pew Research Center has released a helpful report on January 9th that paints a picture of Generation Next. They are the Next Gr8 Generation. A summary of the report can be found here. The fuller, more detailed, 45 page version can be found here.

Here's the one summary point that grabbed my heart,

"One-in-five members of Generation Next say they have no religious affiliation or are atheist or agnostic, nearly double the proportion of young people who said that in the late 1980s. And just 4% of Gen Nexters say people in their generation view becoming more spiritual as their most important goal in life. "

Roughly, 160,000,000 million have no religious affiliation or are atheist or agnostic. Here's one more reason to have a mission, vision, values/priorities outline for why your youth ministry exists!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

20 years ago today...

The Drive happened in Cleveland. If you need to relive it click HERE!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Reading through the Bible

The final Sunday of every year I pass out our Read through the Bible plan! It's so exciting to see students take these guides knowing what it's going to lead them to the WORD! Today, we read Psalm 9 and Genesis 21-22 as a community of students. The first two verses of Psalm 9 grabbed my heart this morning and I couldn't wait to lead off our time of worship with them as we started up our i2i groups.

"1 I will praise you, O LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonders. 2 I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High."

I want to walk the rest of the week with our community of students and leaders living out these two verses.

I will praise the Lord with all my heart.
I will tell of all His wonders.
I will be glad in Him.
I will rejoice in Him.
I will sing praise to His name, the Most High!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Signing up for School

Today we experienced something new as a family! We signed Noah up for school! This fall, on August 22nd, Noah will be attending Bear Creek Elementary.

We are thrilled that Noah will be able to attend the school Julie attended and taught at for 5 years!

The class of 2020 begins school this fall! We can't wait to take this journey with him!

The COMMAND in student ministry

I've been reflecting on Jesus' command to us in student ministry this week. He gave it to us right before He left. One verb. Three participles. Our ministries need to start with the verb. Our lives need to start with the verb.

Matthew 28: 18-20,

"18Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

This is the call to all who have been ambushed by the love of Jesus. What will you do in 2007 to be part of helping to fulfill the command?

Friday, January 05, 2007

Choosing to Lose in Student Ministry

I am captured in this new year with a deeper sense of calling our students to choose to lose!

Luke 17:33

Jesus reminds us in this verse that real life is chosen when you choose to lose it for Him. I am reminded of a great quote from Kenda Creasy Dean, Practicing Passion, that I will never forget,

"If commitment to Jesus Christ is not, ultimately, a life and death investment, then young people will invest their God-given passion elsewhere."

Thursday, January 04, 2007

We must have small groups in student ministry

I firmly believe in the purpose and priority of small group ministry in the context of any student ministry that has over 15 students. I often come back to these words in the 10th chapter of Hebrews, verses 24 and 25,

"24And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. 25Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching."

Great words for a new year! We are going to keep on meeting on Wednesday nights!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Never 2 Late

As I walk into the new year I am reminded of something I heard Chuck Swindoll say while I was delivering pizza in College,

"It's never 2 late to start doing what is right."

There's so much to stop doing. There's so much to start doing. Paul's prayer for the Ephesian church has been on my heart and it's the first thing I've started doing in the new year that I know will have eternal value: memorizing and praying scripture,

"14For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. 20Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen."