Tuesday, March 18, 2008


So this week I'm on 'vacation' which means I get to hang out with my daughter and do projects around the house. We're planning on going to the DC planetarium, an art museum, and some other fun stuff in there. BUT today we went to see Horton Hears a Who.

You definitely need to see it! There are some great theological connections in the movie that describe some similarities with our relationship with God. Instead of going through them all, check out Planet Wisdom's review of the movie as they already have some good stuff on it.

Monday, March 17, 2008

The Core

This past Saturday we went to The Core which is a training opportunity by youthspecialties. As always this is top quality training that YS puts on, and this year they included students as well. This year's theme was on Generation Change which had to do with our helping our students change their world. The progression of the day was 1. Change happens inside first 2: a Transforming Youth Ministry, 3: Changed to bring Change

Brock Morgan was our presenter and he did an outstanding job. I think he got better as the day progressed (and we all woke up ;) ). The material was all solid and I appreciated the way it was presented and worked through. One thing that really hit me during the day had to do with a commercial that Dove put together dealing with helping girls with their body image. This struck me both as a youth pastor and as a daddy of a girl about the age of the girl in the video. Note the video is a little graphic. Check it out the original on Dove's website: http://www.campaignforrealbeauty.com/home.asp

lastly I'm ON VACATION! I took the week off to spend with my daughter as she has spring break this week. We have some fun stuff planned such as seeing Horton hears a Who, and going to an art museum.

Friday, March 14, 2008

The Weekend!

Well the weekend is almost here. We'll be heading to the Core tomorrow with a couple of our adults and a couple HS student leaders. This training event is one of the key opportunities for any of our leaders each year as its a low time commitment opportunity, but they always hit things head on. This year's theme is Generation Change which promises to be a great experience. Our trouble this year is its located right at the beginning of Spring Break. Many of our adults and students will be away so we aren't able to bring as many as we had hoped.

We're also in the process of adoption! Yes Adoption, but no more kids :). We're working on adopting a lab from lab-rescue. Check out Hudson...
He's not the one we're adopting, but he's a cute lab anyway :). I would highly recommend adopting from a rescue if you're looking for a dog.

I've been playing around with Twitter this week... twitter is a tool that allows you to 'microblog' what you're doing and your friends (or followers) can get immediate updates. You can also get updates of who you're following texted to your cell phone. I've only got 2 followers as I made them try this out with me. But its pretty cool as I can text from my phone a status, and it automatically updates my facebook page, and any of my followers. I'm thinking there could be some good uses in youth ministry for this thing. Gotta play around more.

I've also been leading a small group on Sunday mornings for a few of our students, talking about spiritual disciplines and how God gave us these to stay connected to him. Its been very interesting so far as we've dealt with the obvious ones such as study, prayer, solitude. Last Sunday we dealt with simplicity and what it means to live simply, not giving ourselves to the burdens of things like materialism, or overcommitment. We seem to live in a culture of running at breakneck speed filling our lives with stuff (i'm just as guilty as anyone). And this complexity very easily turns our attention off of our Creator. I've seen others do it (and not be a monk in the process) and its been very freeing. We're in that process right now as we try to declutter our lives and schedule so we have more time and space to focus on God and our relationship with him.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

@ Planet Wisdom Day 2

We just returned from the Planet Wisdom conference... I'm at home sitting in my house, totally exhausted, ready to go to bed, yet my mind continues swirling about our experiences this weekend. I think this weekend was definitely an outstanding experience. As one of my leaders put it: "This was the best one yet!"

I'm still looking forward to some of the stories that will be shared amongst our group, and can't wait to hear about each of their experiences through their own eyes. Mark Matlock and Sean McDowell both did a steller job speaking well grounded truth into the lives of our students. All of the material they presented was solid Biblical truth presented in a way that I really believe our students could grasp hold of. They continued talking about how we are each clay in the potters hands and stepping us through that analogy. Additionally, Sean stepped us through some of the logical side of the truth being proclaimed.

During one of the sessions, I sat there and was thinking about each of our students and the situations that each of them find themselves. This included one of our students who every time the band came up, he immediately jumped up and rushed the stage so he could be right up front. I never would have imagined this student to do this, yet he didn't care about what anyone thought of him, he was going to jump up and be right up front each time. It was awesome to me to see this kid's passion come out like this.

The last thing I'll say, is I'm so appreciative of our volunteer leaders. They each took time away from their own busy lives to not just be with us, but to spend some intentional time with our students, and what a difference they made as always. I'm also very proud of our students and some of the conversations I had during the weekend. Its such an incredible opportunity and honor to be their youth pastor.

@ Planet Wisdom

Day 1 of the Planet Wisdom was excellent. I am came down early with one of our seniors to help with setup at the conference. Then the rest of the group joined us around dinner time. I've been looking forward to this event for a while, for just a chance to be with our students. In the general sessions last night, Mark has been giving our students a picture of their lives using the potters clay illustration. It was a powerful night and our students had much to talk about at the end of the evening. I've had some great conversations the last day as well... I'm thankful for being here and being with our students. i'll update more tonight with some pics as well...

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Presence Centered Youth Ministry

Ok... so I'm pretty exhausted today, and so to end my day in the office, I decided to start working through this book. Just read the introduction and the piece that really sticks out to me is the Prayer that Mike as it relates to youth ministry quotes from Thomas Merton:

"My Lord God I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean I am actually doing so. But I believe that my desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope that I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone."

Check. I can relate to that one. There are definitely days in youth ministry or any ministry that feel like this. But I love the last 2 lines of the prayer. There are some days when I wake up in the morning where this becomes my prayer. Because of my own human-ness, I have to repeatedly recognize that our youth ministry here is not my own, but is God's. Most times this recognition comes during my prayer time when I offer this ministry back to God. If I don't do this regularly, then my own pride kicks in and takes over, which is usually not very helpful in our lives.

More Prelude

The Prelude Gathering is coming up in just over a month. After registering, they sent us each 2 books, A New Kind of Youth Ministry by Chris Folmsbee. I've read the book, but didn't blog on it. The other book is Presence-Centered Youth Ministry by Mike King. We're to read these for the gathering, so I'll taking a break from my other books and reading Mike's book over the next few weeks. I'll also try to blog on it to help with my memory retention (which these days isn't doing too well).

--begin rant
On another note, I've been catching up on my reading of Group's youth ministry magazine. (check out youthministry.com for some good resources / articles). While I was reading the magazine, I had this overwhelming sense of being blasted with the consumerism side of youth ministry. I love the articles they always have, and they always get me thinking. But in some sense I'm getting a little tired of the overwhelming amount of resources that are out there. Resources are good and all and can be helpful in ministry especially when starting out, but in a market where more and more resources are hitting the shelves, companies have to market harder and harder for our youth ministry budgets (limited as they are). At some point it becomes a commodity like everything else in our consumer culture. What do we teach our youth when we continue looking for the latest and greatest resources to fill our shelves? I feel like I could probably spend a full time job just looking for something good and useful through all the fluff. Unfortunately the way my mind works, it tends to clog my brain instead of providing clarity. I think it would be great if someone could figure out how to provide quality resources to youth ministries, without leading us into the consumerism that plagues our world. Maybe it already exists and I haven't found it yet... or maybe just by providing this we continue to buy into consumerism...
--end rant

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Just some stuff

Ok so I have to admit, even though I had a day off yesterday, I'm still pretty exhausted. We've had a busy schedule here recently, and a couple more weeks left to go. This weekend is another one of my favorite events that we attend put on by Planet Wisdom.
I'm always excited to be there as Mark Matlock is an excellent youth communicator, and of course the skit guys are hilarious. Setting aside the impact that this event has on our youth, I partly get very excited about this one because its an event that requires little planning on my part, and affords me the ability to just be with our students without the normal stress of actually running the event.

Next weekend is also an exciting opportunity: The Core This is a great opportunity for our leaders and student leaders to get some great training. We always have a great time together hangin out and bonding as the leaders of the youth ministry. This year's theme is "Generation Change". Lookin forward to it and will post thoughts about it after the conference.