Balancing Youth Group Events

•November 11, 2007 • 1 Comment

Tim did a post on the following: 100 blog topics I hope YOU write. He put the challenge out there quite awhile ago and some have been written. If you want to see the topics and the articles … click here.

I am going to attempt to answer number 27. The reason for attempt is that I am struggling with the question. I think it MIGHT be the wrong question. With that being said, here it is:

How to balance youth group events with athletics, homework and jobs ?

The simple answer for me is three-fold.

One, set a schedule and stick to it and communicate that you DO NOT have to attend everything. I know that a lot of individuals do not like that because they scream: WHERE IS THE COMMITMENT !! But, if we let individuals knows when we are having the event and they can count on it; they will know where to be “if they want to come”.

Two, do not fill the calendar for the sake of filling the calendar. We, as youth groups, get to busy filling the calendar for the sake of filling the calendar and we drive this crazy train for competing for time / energy of families that are already zapped and maxed out and they do not need the church “pressurring them” and making them feel quilty. I understand when people first read this and scream “WHERE IS GOD IN ALL OF THIS”

Thirdly, incorporate ministry into where their lives are at. This is very difficult to do for individuals that like nice clean scorecards where they can say, “we had 120 youth at youth last night”. Believe me, I was there with the counting, numbers and the come to us mentality. We really need to see where they are in create ministry for them in those places. This will do a couple of things:

1. Free up time (for the student/parent)
2. Take the “guilt off of them”
3. Influence the Community more
4. Places the focus on the Kingdom of God over the individual church
5. Maybe, just maybe, begin to place the spiritual guidance back to the parents.

How does this look ???

1. We have students sharing their lives with individuals who they are in contact with – being real and being accountable. We realize that having students “out in the world” in school, extra-curricular activities, jobs and “you make the list” places them in direct contact with more people than would ever come to the “church”.

2. We go to where they are out and make it ministry. We share life with them. We are at their events, celebrate the accomplishments, mourn in the disappointments and create ministry time before/after events.

On Monday night when the girl soccer team is playing. Encourage the parents/players to eat at a local restaurant before the game or go out to the local coffeeshop afterwards. They share what is going on in their lives and we have the opportunity to share along side of them. It is part of their “routine”. you pick the scenario in your community, church and context … Dream about the possibilities.

3. Use Technology. We have the capability to reach students and have teaching opportunities for them in ways that we have not had before. We can “instruct” without them being where we are at. Use the technology format that works for you to connect the students to teaching and have ops for them to discuss without them being there “live”.

4. Develop a life plan for each family. See what the family wants their destination to be and help them create that to happen. Each family is different. Just as each individual who goes to the gym and meets with the trainer as a different “plan”; maybe we need to do the same with the families we are in contact with.

I believe these are a few steps that we can take to help balance youth group with everything that is going on in their lives. I think that we often look at the “negative” aspect when we can be and should be focusing on the positive side.

I understand why the question is asked: How do we balance youth group events with athletics, homework and jobs ? But, I think that it might be the wrong question and we need to work with the church leadership team, volunteers, parents and students and begin to ask new and different questions.

What might be the new / tough question for this one ?

For me, maybe it is the following:

How do we, as churches, impower families to be Christ in every aspect of their lives (where they are at) ?

If we do this, I believe we will see a greater impact on the Kingdom of God than trying to develop a scheme/time that will create more ops for students to be at our youth events.

I doubt if this is what Tim was looking for or the hundreds of readers that read Tim. This is just where I am at and part of my struggle on the role of the church and what we are / have been trying to accomplish.

I struggle.

A Wonderful Saturday

•November 11, 2007 • 2 Comments

Today was a great day. Isaiah and Bethany finally woke me up at about 8 am. I finnaly obliged because the couch was getting to me. The kids and myself had our campout on Friday night.

After I awoke, Bethany and myself ent over to the store to grab some donuts and the paper. We made our way back over the house where all of us ate the donuts and I had a nice cup of coffee and read the paper.

We then played card games for about an hour. We played Uno and Rack-O. Bethany was the queen today; she played very well and won most of the games. It was lunch time and a little bit of fb time on the tv. The games were a little zzzzzzzz so the boys and I went out to Freelander where we played basketball then walked the disc golf course through the woods.

We returned home and I watched the 1st half of the Illini / Ohio State game. Poor Ohio State …. they went down. I would have liked to see the victory myself but we had an important date on our calendar.

Isaiah had his first Upward Basketball game of the year and I am the assistant coach. Our team is the Oklahoma Sooners. We have a great group of boys. We are a “younger” team with mostly 3rd graders (3 & 4 grade team). The boys played tough but they came out on the losing end 22-14. Isaiah did get a little frustrated in one segment of the game when he got called for a traveling.

After the game, we came home and relaxed. I kinda hid myself in our room watching football switching back and forth a little. The main game that I watched was the Florida vs. South Carolina game. The Gators rooled. Look at Tebow’s numbers:

Passing: 22 for 32 for 302 yards and 2 TD’s
Rushing: 26 carries for 121 yards and 5 TD’s

Unbelievable. I had the opportunity to see him play one game in high school. He came to The Met to play Hoover U … ummm, I mean Hoover High School. The crowd rooted against him but at the same time had signs … TeBow, please come to Alabama.

Obviously, it did not happen.

The wife is asleep. Jacob and Bethany is a sleep and Isaiah who can stay up late and get up early is watching … just one last show. During the week, they don’t watch tv but during the weekend; they do and enjoy it.

I am about to wind it down. I watch Hawaii play the 1st quarter since I have not seen them this year. Caught up with a few blogs and now it is time to get in bed and watch a few minutes of the game before hitting power off.

I hope that you had a good Saturday as well.

Thanks

•November 10, 2007 • Leave a Comment

I just wanted to say thank you to Reggie.

Ugly .. Ugly … Ugly … BUT A WIN

•November 9, 2007 • Leave a Comment

WVU looked like they were going to have an easy win but they blew their 17 point lead. When you have 3 fumbles in the 2nd half and as a team you have 150 yards in penalties .. it is going to be a rough road.

Thankfully, with 90 seconds left, White held onto the ball and ran his way for the game winning TD.

I had a headache (not feeling too good) before the game … that game added the headache on. Pain pills and 8 hours of sleep; here I come.

Circles: Reducing Poverty In Your Community

•November 8, 2007 • Leave a Comment

Today, one of the members of our church stopped into my office to let me know about an initiative that is coming to our community. It is called Circles. Some basic information:

Circles is a coalition already in place in several towns throughout the country, that aims to bring together members of the faith community, social service agencies and goverment groups with the goal of reducing poverty nationwide.

If you want to take a look at their website, you can find it here.

I am looking forward to this opportunity to meet with community leaders and see if we can make a HUGE IMPACT in our community. I want to give praise to the following organizations for making this meeting a reality:

St. James Episcopal in Wooster
Wooster Area Interfaith Peace
Justice Network
United Way of Wayne County

The meeting is on November 26th. After the meeting, I will give you a lot more information and updates. I believe that I will also include this under my WWJDWTC because this is a piece that will be tied in with me being connected to the community.

Gardner Webb

•November 8, 2007 • 2 Comments

I have got to be honest. I have never heard of the school. They look like they have a very nice school. Here is their web page.

Info On School

Gardner-Webb University is a coeducational, residential, church-related university on
a beautiful campus just outside Shelby at Boiling Springs, North Carolina. The University derives its name from O. Max Gardner, distinguished governor of North Carolina in the 1930s, and his wife, Fay Webb Gardner. The beauty of the campus and the quality of the academic program owe much to their example and leadership.

NO NO NO

I am not putting this on herre because this is where I want my next degree to come from. I put this school on here because they just whipped the University of Kentucky basketball team at Rupp.

Way to go Cats’

Pitiful

*** EDIT: Addition ***

The Wildcats hadn’t lost a regular-season game to an opponent in a mid-major conference since falling to Western Kentucky Nov. 15, 2001, in that season’s opener.

The tournament had been set up to send four top programs – Memphis, Connecticut, Oklahoma, and Kentucky – to New York next week to play in the semifinals. Last night in Storrs, UConn got past Morgan State, 69-65, behind Jerome Dyson’s 20 points. As a result, Gardner-Webb, which finished 9-21 last season, will next play the winner of tonight’s game between Buffalo and UConn.

Ooops .. maybe you should have just put those teams in NY 🙂

Dreaming of Church

•November 7, 2007 • 7 Comments

Alan over at Assembling of the Church has become one of my favorite places to go and spend 5 minutes as I sip my morning coffee. In a recent post he asked the following question:

What if we met to edify one another ?

I think that it is a great question and a question that we do not put much thought into. As churches, I wish that we would spend more time in that area. Alan through our comments on the post asked if I would go more in-depth about the elements that I would love to see in a gathering. Thus, this post. I absolutely love our church, where we are going and what we are doing THUS this is not a “negative” post about how we are doing church.

I, as Alan, think that we need to be a place where edification occurs. I also believe that we could do this in the midst of our regular gathering (church worship). YES, we would have to make changes but I believe that these changes would help us grow us individuals and as a body of believers and it would encourage us to be more of whom God has created to be and *GASP* we may make a bigger impact on the Kingdom of God.

So, my dream of the gathering …..

A Time of Gathering

Individuals and family would enter into the “space” with music playing. The music would help create a “laid-back” approach and invite members into fellowship. The “space” would be flexible with chairs, couches and tables for people to relax and have the opportunity to have conversations.

Introduction to the Theme for the Day

As the music fades, a leader would get up and announce what the theme of the day will be. In the introduction of the theme, there may be a synopsis of the topic, cultural relevance, a poem or a scripture reading.

Scriptural Reading

I think at times that we do not listen to the voice of God through Scriptures. I think that it is vital that we create an opportunity where the Scripture is read and we have time to meditate / reflect / listen to the words being spoken to us. We may even use the Scripture reading time as a time for Lection Divina.

Sacraments

For myself, these would include baptism and communion. I know that there are individuals who differ over the terminology and some that believe there are more than 2 that should be recognized. For us, though, we would have a time to connect to God through baptism and communion (Eucharist). I think that these are vital for the gathering. I would not call it a “sacrament” but I would also like to have a time for annointing of the sick (some believe this is a sacrament). These elements (or sacraments) are important for community to connect with one another and God.

Sharing Time

One of the things that I would want to see is a time in the gathering for individuals and groups to share about what is going on in their lives and where they have seen the “Kingdom of God” at work in the community life throuhout the week.

– An individual may share about their Meals on Wheels route
– A small group may share about their work on the Habitat House
– An individual may share about their mentoring in the school
– etc .. etc ..

I think that it is vital for us to share where we are seeing god working and the connections and differences that we are making in the community. Remember, this comes from my belief that we are to TRANSFORM the community.

Connecting Points

We will have a time for a message. the message may differ each week (the mode). The thrust of this would be the following: challenge of what we are learning/sharing (weekly theme) to what is happening in the community and how we can be the hands and feet of Christ this week.

Message Board

We would have board in the “space” where all celebrations/prayers of group and individuals are at in their journey and what their dreams / aspirations are. This would be a place for prayer / thanksgiving / encouragement for the work of the Kingdom of God to occur.

Meal

Food, Food and more Food. I think by having a meal as a group is essential. I think that it opens up lines of communication. I think that it provides time for questions and answers. the conversations around the meal can include the theme, what spoke to them today and MORE IMPORTANTLY …. members can apply Ephesians 4:29 (build one another up with your words). As we are eating, we can encourage the work individuals are doing / attempting face-face.

Body Prayer

I think that there is something special when we connect to God through our mind, body and spirit. Thus, I would love to incorporate this as part of our worship services. There are quite a few resources out there. I would suggest this book. by Doug Pagitt. These prayers can help us focus.

Blessing

In closing, we give individuals encouragement / building up / prayer for individuals and groups to have a “successful” week in the community

Thoughts on Edify

To edify means to build up, to strengthen, to encourage. It is to help the members of the church grow spiritually. What are some of the things that edify? God’s Word, fellowship, engaging in worship, helping one another, good works, and love.

Scriptural Passages:

Acts 9:31; Romans 14:19; 1 Corinthians 8:1; 14:26; 2 Corinthians 12:19 and Ephesians 4:12 and 1 Thessalonians 5:11.

Where The Church Is At

I think that alot of people come to the gathering and sit. they are in the “space” for an hour and then get up and leave. There is no connection, there is no challenge, there is not direct encouragemt and there is no place for them to receive edification.

I think alot of gatherings may need to be “tweaked” to get back to where God desires for us. Maybe, my dream is off the mark ……