Archive for category: Youth Ministry

The Student Ministry Retreat!

31 Aug
August 31, 2015

fire

The 2015 Student Ministry Retreat is a wrap! What a weekend! We had a great turnout, amazing weather, and an exciting kick off to the new school year. Our theme for the weekend was #Hashtag; essentially, we took popular hashtags from social media and used them as launching points for our three talks and two small group times. Over the weekend we worked our way through the basics of who Jesus is, a call to commit/recommit to Him, and a challenge to be a light for Him throughout the week in school, our neighborhoods, homes, and sports teams.

Of course, there was a LOT of fun involved with the weekend. I made another rules video (you can see it on the student ministry Facebook page), we tried out Human Hungry Hippo, had our annual candle lighting ceremony, played lazer tag in the woods, went water tubing, bounced on a jumping pillow, used the water slide, played with the canoes, and sent kids airborne off the blob. My son Caleb, an incoming sixth grader, tried it for the first time and got some great air – you can see a picture below!

I came into this weekend feeling nervous; the last half year has been kind of wild at our church. Our senior pastor retired after having first came to the church in 1975. Along with the other pastors, I was pulled in a lot of directions during the transition time. Between mission trips, the senior pastor search, mission trips. and more the summer flew by faster than usual. Even so, I came away from the retreat feeling like in spite of all the chaos going into it, our theme saturated the weekend better than we’ve seen in years. It was amazing how many kids came to me Saturday night and told me the ways they were being impacted by the retreat. Our goal is to see this continue in our student small groups – we took big steps to make sure kids were connecting with their small group leaders so that those critical conversations can continue in the weeks to come!

All in all, it was a great weekend! Now to catch up on some sleep …

caleb blob

Victimization in the Name of Protection

22 Aug
August 22, 2015

This video came out a couple weeks ago and has been tearing up the social media sites. Tens of millions of views, it is a bona fide viral hit. People are raving about how it is a must see, it is so good, etc.

I disagree.

It does make a good point, that kids are more likely to make unsafe decisions than we realize. That’s a reality I have been confronted with over and over as a youth worker; parents have no problem believing that adolescents will make unsafe decisions online, with friends, regarding drugs or alcohol, with strangers – the list goes on. What consistently catches parents off guard is that THEIR kids are the ones who will make unsafe decisions. As a nation, we’ve been educating minors about these kinds of dangers for decades, and the reality is that because of greater care we take in protecting children has resulted in those kinds of crime rates going down over the last few decades (while fear has gone up thanks to the introduction of 24 hour news media). Part of me feels like the usefulness of this video is more as a wake-up call for parents, not the kids living in their houses.

But baiting teens to come out and meet someone, only to be screamed at by their parents and posted online for everyone to see? Simulating a kidnapping, having people in masks grabbing and restraining a young girl, then yelling at her about what could have happened if they really had been bad guys? It feels more like an attempt to generate YouTube revenue and score views online than actual concern for the child. And then posting the video for all their friends and peers to see? It’s wrong. It’s a good message, but victimizing young kids to generate YouTube ad revenue is not the way to achieve it.

Group Games Apps

28 Jul
July 28, 2015

groupdo

This summer I told both of my interns to download the following three apps, and they have both been VERY excited with how useful they are! It is challenging to come up with different and interesting games for student ministry week after week, and while there are a ton of resources out there, both in book form and online, these are particularly convenient as they are apps! Each of the apps has a variety of games, from simple to complex. And at a couple bucks each, it’s around a penny or two per game idea. Definitely great youth ministry resources:

Group Games: The first games app I purchased, it includes over 120 games with filters and categories, as well as the ability to highlight favorites for quick access later.

GroupDo: 250 games with filters to help narrow them down by what type of game you want. Includes instructions, illustrations and more!

Awana YM Games: Awana is in the name, but this is app is incredibly useful if you work with teens, regardless of what curriculum you use. It includes 95 games.

Bonus app recommendation:

IceBreaker Questions: Not a games app, but another great resource from the creator of the Group Games app mentioned above. Tons of great questions, with filters for age groups, it’s a fun way to get a group talking!

It’s the little things …

09 Jul
July 9, 2015

IMG_2916

Sometimes it’s the little things that make you feel most appreciated.

This photo is from the VBS party/cookout our team through for the residents in Stockholm and New Sweden during our mission trip to Maine. There were a handful of kids who came with drawings thanking us for the VBS!

Maine Mission Trip lip dub!

04 Jul
July 4, 2015

Taking 22 middle school students on a mission trip to Northern Maine means about 16 hours of driving in each direction … and we don’t allow them to bring ANY devices on the trip! So we spend the time talking, playing games, getting to know each other, and making lip sync videos! The funny thing is, as much as all the kids fear the drive ahead of time, they’re shocked at how fun it is to travel with a bunch of friends and no electronics!

Anyway, here’s the music video/lip dub my van came up with!

2015 Student Missions Report

29 Jun
June 29, 2015

All three of our student missions trips are back home! Yesterday in church we took over both of the worship services to allow the students and leaders to share what God had done through them, and showed them through the trips to Maine, Boston, and Guatemala.

It’s the first time we’ve done the reports during the worship services; in the past, it was always a separate event – it was exciting to see our students be the sermon with their stories and lessons from the scriptures they shared, with the congregation as a whole being blessed by them!

In the next few days, the audio and video from the reports will go live – stay tuned for more!

Student Missions Report Sunday!

17 Jun
June 17, 2015

Student Missions Report

I am particularly excited about this year’s student missions report! In the past, we’ve had several different, smaller reports, which have always been great – but only a small part of the church is actually able to make them. This year? We’re taking over both worship services on June 28th so the whole church can hear the students share about what they’ve experienced!

The plan is to have all 65 students and adult leaders sitting on the risers on the platform for both worship services (9am and 10:30am), with half of the students from each of the three teams sharing at the first service, and the other half sharing at the second service. In addition, students will help lead worship, we’ll have a short slideshow from all three trips, and there are even some baptisms to be celebrated as well! Personally, I’m thrilled to see the students have the opportunity to share what they have seen God do and how they have grown in their faith in a way we have never done before as a church! This is one Sunday that people will definitely not want to miss!

Guatemala Music Video

14 Jun
June 14, 2015

We have a team of 17 students and 4 adults on a short term mission trip in Guatemala right now – their leader, Matt O, posted this music video this morning! Fun to see them all enjoying the country. At the same time, they’ve already been tackling some tough challenges. Last night they hit the streets of Antigua to minister to the homeless. Scary, out of their comfort zone, and incredible – they saw five people decide to follow Christ! It will be a blast to hear all their stories when they return and share with the church on Sunday the 28th during the worship services!

Short Term Mission Report Sunday

04 Sep
September 4, 2014

The other week we had our annual short term mission trip report Sunday where people from all the different mission trips our church sends out each year shared what God had done in them and through them during the mission trips. Over the course of the three worship services, Anna, Kristina, Lauren, Jessica, JD and Luke each shared (two students per worship service) about their experiences on the Costa Rica trip, Chicago trip, and Maine trip. This video is a compilation of all six students!

The First Grade Gift

03 Sep
September 3, 2014

Every year the first grade Sunday School class collects an offering to benefit student missions – I’ve been meaning to post this for a while now! This past spring they raised over a hundred dollars, came over to the student hour on Sunday morning, gifted it to the Costa Rica team and recited their memory verse on missions! It was a very cool morning; and fun for me because the signature from Noah on the above card they made for the family in Costa Rica our team was building a home for is MY Noah!