Posts Tagged With: youth

Taking Time to Honor

Years ago I had an idea.

I am not sure where it came from, I may have heard of it from another youth minister or I may have just been inspired one day.

But I had this vision of the youth ministry no longer feeling and acting like they were in opposition to other ministries, especially senior adult ministries, in the church.

For many years I watched other youth pastors gripe and moan about how the “old people” were holding the church back and ruining the church for the next generation. And this saddened me for two reasons, first the shortsightedness of the youth pastors that were saying these things and second the fact that there was some truth to what they were saying.

Then the idea.

What if we taught our students that instead of viewing the senior adults as problems we taught them to see them as heroes?

The Honor Banquet was born.

The concept was simple. The student ministry would plan, prepare and host a banquet for the adults in our church who were over the age of 55. The adult leaders would help oversee this event but the students would do all the work. We would roll out the red carpet and go all the way to make the senior adults of our church feel special. Everything, from the decorations to the meal to the clothes that would be worn by the students would reflect how special the occasion was. The students would help cook and plate each course of the meal, wait tables and provide entertainment.

This past week the student ministry at the church I just started serving with in October had the chance to put on their very first Honor Banquet. After all was said and done, I could not have been prouder of our students and adult leaders. The banquet was executed flawlessly and those who attended had nothing but praise for the students who waited patiently and attentively on everyone in attendance, going out of their way to make sure everyone had a great time.

More importantly the students had a chance to express a great and emphatic “Thank You” to all the members of our church who have given so much over the years and acknowledge that without the senior adults’ contributions to the church in years past there would be no church here today.

This has been the seventh year I have been able to lead a ministry in doing an Honor Banquet and it gets better every year. If you are a youth pastor our a student ministry leader let me encourage you to take time to honor those in your congregation that have done more than you can ever know to serve the kingdom.

You won’t regret it

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Categories: Life, Ministry, Religion | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

HELP!! I WANT MY KIDS IN CHURCH!!

I get asked this a lot and was telling someone just today what my standard answer to that question would be. So I thought it would make a good blog post. So here it is

How does a parent get their child involved in church?

First and foremost the parent has to model the behavior that they want their child to adopt. If you want her in church consistently then you have to be in church consistently. This will show them that it is serious to the parent and that it is more than an extra activity but a part of the way of life.

 

Secondly, you must be find a church that is supportive of the values and goals that you want for your child to absorb and commit yourself to that church and that church alone for a substantial duration of time, in your specific case I would say the remainder of her High School career. Children of all ages need consistency and in this world it seems that everything in their life changes so fast they can’t count on anything. When the church becomes a constant they are more likely to latch to it.

 

Thirdly a teen is going to be drawn where their friends are. If the youth group does not have anyone in it that the teen can or will connect with then they will feel isolated and alone and not want to go.

 

Fourth, it is important for any parent to realize that the principle influence in a child’s life will always be the parent. In turn that means that the one who must be discipling the child in Christ is the parent as well and that the youth minister and youth group are only there to support and enhance what the parent is already doing, which is why number one is so important.

 

Finally there as to be some lines drawn. If the previous four statements are applied first then this is an easier task. Not to say that it is at all easy but if placed first in the list it is almost impossible. The parent is the parent and makes the decisions if the parent decides that the family is going to start attending and participating in church then that is the rule and is enforced. Many times parents will tell me they don’t want to force their kids to come to church because they are afraid it will turn them off to religion. But the fact is that we force our children to do many other things and yet never consider to apply that principle. They go to school, eat their supper, go to the doctor, go to bed, have a curfew, etc etc etc. Again when the previous four are applied this becomes easier.

 

Categories: Everyday Thoughts, family, Life, Ministry, parenting, Philosophy, Religion | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Loving All, All the Time

I had the privilege of serving with a man named Chris at NYWC  201o. Chris is a youth ministry vet who has been loving on kids for 20+ years and to call him a character would be the understatement of the century.   Personality is this man’s middle name and you cannot help but smile when he is in the room. But with all the laughs and cutting up, the stories and the off the wall sayings what was displayed even more prominently, and more importantly, was Chris’ love for others.  I had the privilege of not only working with Chris but also spending down time with him as well, whether that meant eating a meal or walking to and from the hotel or shopping in the YS Store or just browsing the Exhibit Hall.  Wherever we were wherever we went Chris never met a stranger.  His interaction with every single person was as if he had known them for a lifetime and he truly showed care and in each and every person.

I will confess that many times when I am running in the store of gas station that I blow by people and never think twice about who is waiting on me.  What really is sad is that I used to work retail and I know how big a difference a customer with an outgoing personality can make in a employees day. I have even said to myself years ago that I wanted to be that guy.  Often times I will forget peoples names and simply brush it off with lame excuses but not Chris. Within a day of being at the event he had learned every name not just on our team but on the entire YS staff that was onsite for the conference which must have been a good 50 people.  And it was more than just memorizing, he had genuinely gotten to know each person and cared for each and every one of them.  When we would walk through Chris would take time to speak with anyone who stood still long enough whether that be a security guard or a janitor or a YS staffer.  With a smile on his face and a kid word on his lips Chris would make sure that everyone in his path would be left with a smile.

As I sat in my office reflecting on this week and my experience and what I had learned what convicted me the most was how I fail so many times to love the people around me whether I know them or not. It is really a powerful thing, a difficult thing to be sure, to love all at all times but oh so important and a lesson that hope to be able to learn.

Categories: Everyday Thoughts, Life, Ministry | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Down from the Mountain

Having  just come back from an amazing weekend with our youth group it is an easy thing to get down.  After all we experienced coming back down to reality is a little depressing.  Most of us in the ministry recognize this as a mountaintop experience and understand the brutality of the realization that we have to exist in the real world where it seems we are in a losing battle at times.

We need to understand though that this is not unique to our time or our place. In fact we are provided with a number of instances of this very problem in the Scriptures.

Moses- Ex 32

After being on the Mount with the Lord. Moses had to return to reality and the reality was that the people of Israel were already turning their hearts away from the God that had delivered them.  Can you imagine how Moses must have felt? Here he was meeting with the Lord of Lords and his people that he had sacrificed so much for were worshiping a golden calf!  Talk about depressing! So then Moses has to go into leader mode and rebuke the people. Not what I would want to be doing after meeting with God.

As a minister I can relate.  It seems that the moment i walk in the door after coming back from a trip I am confronted with the fact that there are people even in my own church that are more concerned with worldly matters and there own self satisfaction than the movement of God.

Elijah- 1 Kings 19

In 1 Kings 18 Elijah has this amazing victory over the evil prophets of Baal. God worked a miracle beyond anyone’s belief and Elijah was left standing as His victorious prophet.  Fast forward to chapter 19 and Jezebel has threatened his life.  Elijah must have been wondering why God would give him such a victory only to allow him to be killed by the same evil that he had been trying to overthrow.

Sound familiar? I think we all know of someone that has come home from a mountaintop experience to be confronted with a life crisis. Whether it be an issue with work or home, personal, material or emotional we all know of someone that has had to face a crisis.

Jesus- Lk 9:41

Yes!! Even Jesus had to face this problem. Jesus goes up and is transfigured and discusses what His death will mean. I imagine that this was an exciting conversation. To be talking about the salvation of the people He had created surely got Christ pumped. But as He came down off the mountain the first thing He was confronted with was a complaint about His disciples. His response clearly shows His concern.

Don’t you just love to have to deal with complaint’s? They are bad enough when you are not coming off a mountaintop experience but having to be dragged down when you are focused on things much higher and nobler is quite rude.

The point is the world is going to be ready to destroy our optimism and excitement but we cannot let that divert us from the course that we must take. The closeness with God always reveals to us what we need to do so we need to do it!! Now go do it…..NOW!!

Categories: Everyday Thoughts, Ministry, Religion | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

I’m Not Who I Was

This song title hits me.  Over the course of my life I have had relationships with people whether good or bad that have left a taste in my mouth. I can’t describe it but I have this wish that people who knew me way back one way back when could see the difference in me now.  I wish people who knew me now could know how really far I have come.  It isn’t possible in this small a space to even describe the transforamtion I have percieved.  But I know this I’m not who i was and that is a good thing

Categories: Life, Philosophy | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

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