Wednesday, July 27, 2016

SGLs

I'm currently sitting on our couch while my oldest is sick and watching Canimals for the 200th time. Minutes ago I hit send on an email to a group of adults in our church that I feel have the potential to help our student ministry take a giant step forward.

I asked each of them to imagine where they were at when they were a teenager to envision how those formative years would have been different if they had a person of influence consistently speaking into their lives. To speak truth into their lives, to hold them accountable for their choices and to be there for them to celebrate and to mourn.

I'm excited about the possibilities of what God could do through these individuals in our ministry. I'm excited to think about students and adults having meaningful discussions about what it would look like to live out the stuff I teach them. I'm excited about our students getting connected and their friends getting connected to our church.

God's positioned us in a great place to do something huge in our community. I can feel God is preparing our student ministry for something...something big.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Surfing for God

I was given a copy of "Surfing for God" to check out and I thought it would be a great resource to apply towards my ministry to students and parents. It deals with a topic, porn, that is often too uncomfortable for parents to have a conversation with their students about and our culture has normalized the behavior. Throughout this book it gives practical advice for both individuals struggling with this issue, but also for individuals who are helping loved ones through the struggles.

Throughout the text the author does a fantastic job of being very open and transparent about his struggles throughout his life and how it effected his life, career and relationships. I would highly recommend this book to parents, grandparents, youth workers and anyone else that works with students. I would also recommend this book for anyone who struggles or knows someone who struggles with this topic.

Fantastic read!
* 25% of search engine requests are for pornography – 68 million per day
* 70% of the hits on Internet sex sites occur between 9-5 on business computers
* Over 50 percent of evangelical pastors report they viewed pornography last year
* Over 70% of Christian men report viewing pornography in the last year

Monday, July 30, 2012

All Pro Dad - Mark Merrill (Review)

I can look over at my bookshelf and pull of multiple books that attempt to assist men along in their journey. There are books that quote people I've never heard of and books that seriously make me question the integrity of some publishers. I came across Mark Merrill's book "All Pro Dad: Seven Essentials to Be a Hero to Your Kids" and knew right away I wanted to check it out.

I have the E-Book version of this on my iPad and I'm not sure I've ever highlighted as much in a single book as I have in this book. Page after page is provided with inspirational quotes from current dad's and people in high positions of leadership. This book covers in just over 200 pages what other similar books have taken double that to try to cover.

Merrill does an amazing job of being completely transparent. He's open and honest and admits that there are parts of what he writes where he isn't perfect. I love how he shares personal stories and gives practical advice throughout the book.

I'm definitely going to be getting a copy of this book into the hands of the dads in my youth ministry!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

If I Knew Then What I Know Now by Ruby Hillsman - REVIEW

When I started reading this book I didn't think I was going to enjoy it too much, but after the first couple of chapters my eyes were opened. This is a great book! The premise of the book is an elderly African-American woman that is looking back on her life. She's looking back at the events that happened and the things she experienced.  I really enjoyed the tone of the book because it felt like you were sitting down with this lady and having a conversation. It made me wish that I had slowed down and taken the time to listen to the previous generations. To listen to their stories and experiences.

Too often we in the younger generation act like there's nothing we can learn from the older generation. That today's problems and worries are far greater than they would ever understand. It's interesting to hear about how this woman went through many of the things we're still battling today.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

I Made My Daughter Cry



My wife and I just finished an awesome week of vacationing in the Smoky Mountains. If you've never been; you should go! We aren't into the whole "tourist trap" stuff...$60 per person for a dinner and mediocre talent in the show....no thanks. So we stuck mostly to the National Forest trails and enjoying God's creation.
We had decided we wanted to go to the highest point in the Appalachian Trail called "Clingman's Dome." We hopped in my in-laws Jeep and ventured along the winding roads that hug the mountainside. As we climbed higher and higher we started to see other hikers dressed in gloves, hats and thick jackets. This caused me to think that my shorts and t-shirt were not a great choice for a 4+ mile hike. 
Once we reached the top we stepped out of the jeep and discovered we had clearly underestimated the temperature difference between normal elevation and being 6500+ feet in the mountains and that the fog was crazy thick. Due to the cold we decided to cut the hike short and just walk to the top of Clingman's Dome to check out the view (which we knew there would be none). 
Some of our party needed to use the restroom and so the rest of us were standing around. I had my daughter in my arms and had her wrapped in a blanket to keep her extra warm. 
And then it happened...
A wind gust blew the blanket out my hand and exposed my daughter to the cold air. I quickly reached for the edge of the blanket with my free arm as my daughter decided to make a maneuver to free herself from my grasp. 
It was one of those moments that happens in slow motion. Where you know the disaster that is getting ready to happen, but you can't do anything about it. I let out an audible yell (I say yell..my mother-in-law says scream...I choose to believe it was a very deep/manly yell) as I watched my daughter plummet towards the ground. It was like a car crash that takes so long, but everything after is such a blur. 
I remember bending down and picking her up expecting to see blood, but there was none. My mind ran 50,000 miles per hour. Flashbacks of every conversations my wife and I had had about parents who had dropped their kids and what happened to their children ran through my head. I imagined my daughter losing her teeth or having brain damage because I was careless for a fraction of a second.
I handed my daughter to my wife and knew that I had to get away from the situation. I walked away with my hands on my head because I felt like I had had the wind knocked out of me. It was a mixture of not being able to breath and feeling like I was going to be able to say that I had thrown up at 6500 feet. I paced back and forth hoping to wake up from this nightmare, but it was reality.
My father-in-law came to the rescue and came and assured me that all parents have been there. Where a split second decision or lack of attention causes an incident that we will never forget. 
My daughter is fine and only had a scrape on her head and finger, but I was shaken for quite a long time. I couldn't stop holding on to her and the smile on her face means so much more to me after the fall. As a result I'll be way more cautious about handling my amazingly beautiful piece of love. 


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A Spark

The other day my father-in-law asked me to help him clear some trees that were causing him issues on his property. We cut them down and then drug them over into a large pile and burned them. As the day went on and we began to slow down the fire that was once roaring...turned into just smoke. I kept piling stuff on, but there was no flame.

All it took was one spark.

I was cutting down more trees when I heard a loud popping and crackling. I looked over and saw that the fire that was, a few minutes before, just a bunch of smoke...was now burning again.

The youth group in which I am currently serving is a lot like this fire. 4-5 years ago the youth group was roaring. Students graduated and over time the group turned into just smoke. We're currently in that "just smoke" stage, but the fire gave me hope. It was a reminder from God that all that it takes is one student to "get it" and to begin to tell their friends about what God is doing in their life through our ministry.

The purpose of ministry isn't to have the biggest "fire," but to help students connect with Him. That is my goal. To have a ministry that is constantly feeding this fire by connecting students with their creator.

So what's it going to take to get that one spark?

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

SYMC

Friday my wife and I are hitching up the horses and heading south to Louisville for the weekend. We are staying with some friends from college and I am looking forward to my first Simply Youth Ministry Conference. I am excited to hear Francis Chan speak and to catch up with, Brooklynn Lindsey, my former boss. It is going to be an awesome weekend. I am looking forward to all of the awesome ideas I will walk away within apply to my life and ministry. I will be blogging from time to time during the conference...so be sure to check in!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Attendance Tracking

Keeping track of attendance in my youth group has been a struggle. I started off from the start keeping accurate records of every student that came in and out of our doors, but when I saw that I was only have 2 or 3 students during my meeting times I started neglecting it. I stopped keeping track because it was always the same students showing up.

I've decided that I'm going to get back at it. I've been looking for a great app or system to record my groups attendance, but struggled to find anything "ministry" specific. I instead turned toward the "educational" route and figured teachers would have great resources.

After going through several apps I found "Teacherpal" and will be experimenting with it over the next couple months and give a full review then.

I like the look and feel of it so far.

You can label each door (or folder for each service). I have chosen "Youth Group Demo" just for the purposes of this blog and indicated in the "details" section that it is on Wed. Night. You can also change the image that is taped to the door to whatever you want (your youth group logo)

Here you just tap on the person's name and it cycles through whether they are here or absent. It would make it very easy to be able to scroll over and just tap a persons name as they walk in the room to record that he/she is there.

Since it is an app designed for teachers, it has 7 class period slots for each day. What would be nice is if it allowed you to change the name of each period so that you could make it the name of each of your services. So you could indicate what service you were recording attendance for. The only work around is to create separate books for each service, which would be very tedious when adding new students.

I like it so far and will be testing it out tonight at our group gathering. I'll be taking pictures of each student to record as their image and making sure I have all their contact info in the system. What is nice is with one button you can e-mail the entire group. Now if someone would come up with a youth ministry version that replaces e-mailing with texting...that would be perfect.