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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Upcoming Events...

Depending on when you read this, I hope you either HAVE a Merry Christmas or that you HAD one. Here are some things coming up that you should be aware of:

Sunday January 4: D-Group 101. For those interested in coming to d-group from January-May 2009, attendance is required. We'll be talking about what d-group is, what it isn't, requirements, etc.

Wednesday January 7: First youth group of 2009. We'll have new family tables and small groups for the new year. This go round, the family tables and small groups will be the same. We'll be dividing the groups up by gender and age range; middle school boys, middle school girls, high school boys, high school girls.

January 14: Registration forms and $20 deposit for GORF are due. GORF is an event for middle school students, put on by Nebraska Christian College in conjunction with the Iowa/Nebraska Christian Convention. Total cost for this event is $100, and includes food, lodging...everything but spending money. The permission slip is available to the left, under "Forms".

January 17: Annual Parent's Meeting @ Eastview, from 11am-1pm.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The New Sexuality

Dear Parents,

I spent part of my afternoon today viewing the video portion of the material that we’ll be using in February as part of our “New Sexuality” curriculum and all I can say is “wow”. To see some of the videos, hop on over here.

There are 16 discussion starters (topics) to choose from. Many are gender-specific; some are only for girls, some only for guys. Some of the videos are definitely for high school students only. Here’s a quote from Rusty Van Deusen, a 30-year youth ministry veteran and interlinc (the curriculum provider) writer.

“I’m for an honest face-to-face look at the ‘new sexuality.’ My input from students is that Christians are in total denial about the pervasive involvement of Christian students in a broad range of sexual activity. I believe Youth Leaders Only (the material) is the forum to address sexual honesty and in a way that says to students, ‘These guys get it.’ Let’s address pornography, same-sex issues, hooking-up, and the ‘gone wild’ culture head on. The kids are. Let’s engage them.”

This material will be a part of our annual parent’s meeting on January 17, from 11am-1pm. It is my hope that you’ll be there with us.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

December 2008 Parent Letter

December 3, 2008

Dear Parents,

This will be the final letter for 2008. On behalf of all of our adult sponsors and leaders, I want to thank you for allowing us to work with your kids in 2008. We had a great year! In January, I’ll include our ministry team’s annual report for 2008 in my letter home to you.

Our youth group Christmas party is scheduled for Wednesday night, December 17, at our normal youth group time. Students should bring a “white elephant” gag gift for another student. It can be a stuffed animal from, but purchased gifts should be less than $5 and god for a boy or a girl. We’ll also have them bring either a snack or drink, but those details are coming soon.

Here are a few of the BIG things coming in 2009…

• Annual Parent Meeting is Saturday, January 17 from 11am-1pm.
o Because we have so many new students, I’d like to spend some time listening to you and sharing with you about our ministry for 2009. We’ll also spend time talking about our February/March teaching series, entitled “The New Sexuality”, and we need your input. We have 21 topics to choose from, issues like pornography, same-sex questions, the issue of oral sex before marriage, and sexual integrity, and we need you to tell us what issues you want addressed, and more importantly, what you don’t want talked about. We’ll also be talking about our 2009 calendar of events and answering questions. Please come and be a part of this important meeting.

• Summer Camp season at North East Iowa Christian Service Camp. Our camp theme for 2009 is “Thirst”. The kids will be challenged to see what they’re filling up their lives with.
o Our middle school camp week in 2009 is June 14-19, and is for students going into grades 6-8 for the 2009-2010 school year.
o Our high school camp week in 2009 is July 5-11, and is for students going into grades 9-12 for the 2009-2010 school year.

• Mission: Kansas. We are returning to Morning Star Ranch in Florence, Kansas for our 2009 mission trip.
o Tentative dates are June 28-July 4.
o While this trip will be available to all students that come to Eastview, like all of our trips, mission trips are a privilege, not a right. There will be a basic registration process, and a few pre-trip meetings where attendance is mandatory. The cost for this trip will be approximately $140/student.
o All details will be finalized by March. We’ll have an informational meeting on Saturday, March 28th.

It is our hope and prayer that you have a blessed holiday season. In an age of declining stock markets, rising costs and troubled times, Jesus Christ is the rock on which believers stand. He alone is the Unfailing One.

Closing out 2008…


John Mulholland
Next Generations Minister
Eastview Christian Church
jmulholland@eastview.net

Monday, December 1, 2008

"Ethics of American Youth" survey

Courtesy of one of our parents, Mike Greene, comes a link to the 2008 Report Card on the Ethics of American Youth. It is based on a survey of nearly 30,000 students in high schools across the U.S. "The results paint a troubling picture of our future politicians and parents, cops and corporate executives, and journalists and generals."

Sadly, there are few differences between students who attend religious-oriented schools and those who do not.

Excerpts from the summary:

"STEALING. In bad news for business, more than one in three boys (35 percent) and one-fourth of the girls (26 percent) — a total of 30 percent overall — admitted stealing from a store within the past year. In 2006 the overall theft rate was 28 percent (32 percent males, 23 percent females).

LYING. More than two of five (42 percent) said that they sometimes lie to save money. Again, the male-female difference was significant: 49 percent of the males, 36 percent of the females. In 2006, 39 percent said they lied to save money (47 percent males, 31 percent females).

CHEATING. Cheating in school continues to be rampant and it’s getting worse. A substantial majority (64 percent) cheated on a test during the past year (38 percent did so two or more times), up from 60 percent and 35 percent, respectively, in 2006. There were no gender differences on the issue of cheating on exams."

You can view the entire report here.

Monday, November 10, 2008

A Great Article from Fuller Theological Seminary...

Some key points from the article "Theological Principles Behind Intergenerational Youth Ministry", you can read the whole thing here.

Principle #1: Parents and the surrounding community of adults are expected to exemplify what it means to be fully-devoted followers of God. This expectation of total devotion is indicated in several portions of the Deuteronomy 6 passage. First, to declare “The LORD our God, the LORD is one …” is no small matter. It is a covenant agreement in which the people of Israel agree to follow the “one and only God” with absolute loyalty and obedience. This pledge of allegiance, often read aloud, starting with the words “Hear, O Israel,” is a “summons to those who would be Israel in any age” to align themselves with the work and will of the LORD.

Principle #2: Adults, starting with parents, are commanded to be active participants in their childrens’ spiritual formation. Several portions of the Deuteronomy 6 passage indicate parental and community involvement in a child’s spiritual formation. First, “Impress them on your children” is a phrase that indicates the parents’ responsibility and agreement to teach their children about the LORD. At the time that Moses authored this passage, the spiritual formation of children included the use of both formal and informal opportunities to teach and centered on the telling of family, tribal and national historical narratives of the Exodus and the experience of living in covenant relationship with the LORD.

Some of my thoughts:

Here at Eastview, we have more adults than ever working with our youth. Table parents, small group leaders, sponsors, they're all there. Each week, we consistently have students involved in our Sunday corporate worship, running sound or video, serving communion, singing. Many of our kids feel empowered and appreciated.

But...

However...

Please, re-read point 1 from above..."Parents and the surrounding community of adults are expected to exemplify what it means to be fully-devoted followers of God."

I'm wondering...in how many of our homes are parents "exemplifying what it means to be fully-devoted followers of God"? Here, perhaps is the "right" question...Parents, do you even know what is means to be a fully-devoted follower of God"? Week after week, the same families are MIA on Sunday mornings, not in Sunday School, not at LIFE Groups. How can we learn what it means "to be fully-devoted follwers of God" when we are not in places and situations where we are taught? Here's what I see at Eastview: in may cases, it is a "surrounding community of adults" calling your children to Jesus. And I have to ask one question. Why is that ok?

Which leads right to point 2..."Adults, starting with parents, are commanded to be active participants in their childrens’ spiritual formation."

I believe the operative word in point 2 is "active".

The Oxford American Dictionaries define the word "active" this way:

1 (of a person) engaging or ready to engage in physically energetic pursuits
• moving or tending to move about vigorously or frequently
• characterized by energetic activity
• (of a person's mind or imagination) alert and lively.
2 doing things for an organization, cause, or campaign, rather than simply giving it one's support

Here's the Oxford American Dictionary definition of the word "passive":

1 accepting or allowing what happens or what others do, without active response or resistance

A few more questions, since I'm on a roll...

Based on the definitions above...are you actively or passively participating in your child's spiritual formation? Why?

Are you teaching your children to read the Bible, or are you letting us do that for you? Why?

Are you putting yourself in situations and positions so that you can learn those skills, and then pass them down? Why or why not?

It has been said that there are 2 great times to plant an oak tree...20 years ago, and today.

Go, and sin no more.


Monday, October 20, 2008

The "Trouble" With Youth Ministry

Mike Yaconelli was the co-founder of Youth Specialties. He spent 43 years of his life in ministry to youth, and 20 years as a pastor of a small church in Yreka, California. He was known for challenging convention and was an inspiration to many on youth ministry. The following article is his, and should be read and considered by us. He passed away in October of 2003 in an automobile accident.

The “Trouble” With Youth Ministry
(From the March 2001 YouthWorker Journal)

Youth ministry is dangerous. When you and I are trying to follow Jesus we’re going to get into trouble. Trouble making is what discipleship looks like. Our role is not to create nice, compliant American citizens ready to get a good job and have 2.4 kids. Our job is to introduce young people to the life-ruining Jesus who causes nothing but trouble.

Listen…if your church doesn’t have a rule made just because of your youth ministry (no soccer in the sanctuary, no orange punch in fellowship hall), you aren’t letting Jesus be first place in your ministry. Trouble is the youth worker’s middle name. Remember, all they can do is fire you.

A youth worker in our town was recently fired because he was reaching the "wrong kind of kid." I thought the wrong kind of kid was the right kind of kid. The elders insisted that youth ministry was not about bringing in the "riff raff" off the streets but working with the kids that were already Christians. I thought we were all riff raff.

A church where the ethnic mix was changing hired a young woman to work with gang members, who after a few weeks was successful in gathering a few gang members for a Bible study. She actually talked them into coming to the church building for the study. One night she was talking about Matthew 6:33 (But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness…) and explaining that if you want to be a disciple of Jesus, nothing can be more important than him. Her words were, "if the gang is more important than Jesus, then the gang has to go. If your girlfriend is more important than Jesus, then she has to go." One of the gang members was so into what she was saying that after those words he reacted violently by throwing his arms back and saying, "Sh*t! It’s hard to be a disciple!" When he swung his arm back he broke a window set in the wall. The church leadership found out and was very upset at having to pay $26 to fix the window. They actually put the gang members on restriction and told them they couldn’t meet in the church room for a week.

I’m thinking to myself, "WHAT? WAS THIS CHURCH CRAZY? Any leader who can teach the gospel so well that a group of gang members understand exactly what Jesus meant is one heck of a teacher! I want what she’s got. But it gets worse. A few weeks later, the pastor accidentally interrupted one of the gang Bible studies. He sat down and spent a few minutes talking with the gang members. After he left one of the guys said, "Hey, I like that guy. Let’s go to church this Sunday." The youth worker decided to have the gang members sit in the balcony rather than with the congregation downstairs. When the minister came out and announced the giving of the peace, one of the gang members stood up and yelled, "Hey, dude, you are cool!" The entire congregation turned around in shock. After the service the youth worker was told not to bring the gang members to church until they learned how to behave.

Again I’m thinking, "WHAT?" The entire congregation should have turned around, stood on their feet and yelled, "Hey, you guys are cool! Come on down here. You could really help us since none of us can see or hear!" Then they should have given the youth worker a raise. They didn’t. She was fired.

Unfortunately, many people in the church are more concerned about rules, policies, and procedures than they are about the unbelievable, miraculous, spectacular, unprecedented, once-in-a-lifetime event that occurs when someone starts to get well. When people get well, it exposes the sickness of those around them. Rather than getting mad, there should have been a celebration because a group of gang members miraculously desired to be part of the Church.

Woo-Hoo!!

Sometimes I wonder if it isn’t easier for rocks to cry out in the presence of Jesus than it is for some church members to celebrate the "trouble" genuine youth ministry causes.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

You're Invited!

Next weekend, October 17 and 18, here at Eastview Christian Church, our ministry team is going to be considering that very question. In 2009, every single event, every meeting, every trip, EVERYTHING, that we do will be examined through the lens of that question.

The best part? You’re invited to the discussion. Here at Eastview, we believe that you love your kids more than we ever could. We believe that you have more sway in the lives of your kids than we do. You are the influencer. As a parent of two teens and one 10 year-old, I find that concept frightening. And because of the influence that you wield, we want and need your advice and input. So, come. With an open heart. With open ears. And most importantly, an open mouth. This is for any parent, church member or not.

We’ll start Friday night at 5:30pm with a meal. Friday will mostly be a review of 2008, a review of our events, meetings, material, our challenges, victories and struggles. You’ll also hear from our adult leaders, as well as a few students. We’ll end the night by 10:30 with s’mores around a fire pit.

Saturday, we’ll get started about 9am. For much of the morning, we’ll talk about the big idea, ““How can we get our students to examine their own understandings of Jesus?” Part of this conversation will be “dealing with difficult and disruptive students”. The balance of the day will be spent talking about our activities, our calendar, our budget as they relate to the big question. We’ll be done by 4pm.

In order for us to have the right amount of food, please let me know that you’re coming. You can call me at church (393-9570), my cellular (389-5384), or drop me an email (jmulholland@eastview.net). I sure hope that you’ll take advantage of this time to invest in your kids and our ministry here.

Monday, October 6, 2008

If anyone ever asked me...

I thought that this was a great article.

From The Journal of Student Ministries:

"I would tell him that the youth and the elders of the church should be more connected; not treated as two separate churches. That the elders have so much to offer our youth; and that our youth have so much to offer our elders. I would tell him to let the two generations serve together – in worship, ministry and missions.

I would tell him that the youth have as many gifts and talents as anyone else in the church and should be involved in every area – from toddlers, to worship; from design to implementation. I would tell him that it is because of their involvement in the church, that they will respect the church; not reject it.

I would tell him that he should come to youth events – uninvited. To just show up - not to evaluate me – but to play unguarded with the students. That play can take on any form – from wild water games to ultimate Frisbee tournaments; from quiet, contemplative worship and meditation to deeply, engrossing theological debates. I would tell him that he is always welcome – I shouldn’t have to ask him to come. And I would tell him, that the students would think he is super cool for having the courage to come.


I would tell him that training the parents is his job, not mine. That it is his job to teach the parents the importance of the youth ministry and its events, bible studies, fundraisers and mission projects. That it is his job to tell them that the success of the students relationship with Christ is on their shoulders; not mine. It is his job to tell the parents that I’m not the enemy, and that I simply love their kids as much like Christ as I possibly can. And that doesn’t mean that I want to raise their kids!"

Monday, September 22, 2008

"The Youth Group vs. The Family"

"Unfortunately, more often than not there is a gap that exists between the life of a youth ministry and the life of the youth family. Familiar with that gap? Let me present you with two of the more common problems that families run into when it comes to the relationship between their church’s youth ministry program and their youth.

First, there is the classic lack of communication. Symptoms include: not knowing what’s going on, not knowing when things are happening, unaware of who’s in charge, or which adults will be working with or chaperoning your teenager, etc. This, no doubt, can be a very discouraging problem.

Second – another time-tested classic – the problem of competition. Oftentimes, families feel like their church’s youth program is competing against them for quality time with their youth. Usually, this is caused when youth don’t want to hang out with their families because they want to go and do something with the youth group...

Either way, when it comes to the youth group vs. the family, the family should win every time because the family (and not the youth group) is the God-ordained institution responsible for bringing up youth in the fear and admonition of the Lord. The youth group, on the other hand, is simply here to help."

I am in 100%, complete and total agreement with that last statement. I believe that the family (parents, that's YOU) is the God-ordained creation responsible for bringing up children in the LORD. Our student ministry simply exists to help. I hope that you'll let me know how we can help.

Read the rest of this great article here.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Fall Overnighters

Our Fall 2008 Overnighters are right around the corner...

They both run from 8pm, and end by 9am.

The Gals' Overnighter is at the home of Kathy Thomas. Kathy and her daughter Laurie (she was a youth sponsor who's now attending classes at UNI are hosting. They'll be hot-tubbing, among other things. Just click on the "Calendar" link to the left for her address.

The Guys' Overnighter is at Eastview. Me, Josh Davis and Gregg Lunde, and maybe another adult or 2 are running the show. We'll be HALO'ing, shooting one another with our softair guns, watching some movies, and from 9-1130 we'll be...well, it's a secret. But, if you show up at 9, the doors'll be locked, and you ain't coming in, so make sure your're there on time.

We need a signed permission slip for all of those going to either Overnighter, and the cost per student is a wimpy $5. They'll need to bring the normal overnighter stuff.

Need a permission slip? Email me at jmulholland@eastview.net

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Accountability, Respect, and other things...

Over the past few weeks (months really), we've had a number of respect issues within our youth group. We've been thinking about how we should deal with these things; and we've decided that we're going to tackle them head on.
I came across the blog of a youth pastor from Canada. He has some interesting things to say about accountability.

"When are we going to stop turning our heads away from people and their irresponsibility. When are we going to look at how people are treated, talked to, disrespected and everything else and begin to confront those doing it?"

"When are we going to look at the people that try and bend the rules - and tell them to STOP!"

Our answer to those questions, and the others that he posts are "now".

Check out the rest of his post here.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Parents...you're needed!

Here are a few highlights from an article in the August 31st Christian Standard. The article is entitled "Parents Matter" and can be read in it's entirety here.

"More than anyone—peers, teachers, youth ministers—the greatest single influence on a teen is his parents. That may shock some parents who feel like a discarded shoe when their children reach adolescence. Research proves parents have the greatest effect on their children’s choices, including their religious and spiritual practices."

"
The alarming rate of teen church dropouts (61-88 percent depending on the research study) requires urgent attention. When young people leave the church, we lose the spiritual assets of fresh talent, spiritual gifts, and passion that the body of Christ needs to be complete."

"
Fifty-one percent of teens in the study said they would like to talk more about religious matters with their parents. According to USA Weekend magazine, one in three teens say they rarely or never have a conversation with a parent that lasts longer than 15 minutes."

"
LifeWay Research found that 57 percent of teens remain in church after age 17 when it is an established expectation. Teens need to hear that church attendance matters to their parents. Parents must also walk their talk. Parents who attend church regularly, and who genuinely like church and actively serve in church, are more likely to have teens who remain in church. Fathers actually have a greater impact on teens’ decision to stay in church after age 17."

Everything that I have read confirms the statements made in this article. Our ministry is based in large part on the concept that YOU are the primary influence in the lives of your children. One of the questions posed in another article recently posted on this blog, "Indoctrinated or Educated" is this..."Are there things we’re teaching kids in youth group that parents are undermining in the home?". Based on conversations that I personally have had with students about religious activity within the home, I'd say yes.



Thursday, August 28, 2008

Fall D-Group

For our Fall 2008 d-group curriculum, we'll be using Chuck Colson's book "The Faith". For details on the book itself, please go here. Here's the format, each week, the students will be assigned a chapter of the book, and then they'll answer questions from the companion study guide, available here. Each student will be responsible to purchase their own copy of the book. I'll buy them in bulk from Lemstone, where we can get them for just $13/each-regular price is $19/each. Students can give their $13 to me-I PREFER checks...no cash please!

I was asked last night if there was a particular Bible translation that was recommended for use in our ministry. My preference is the NIV Study Bible. The paperback from Amazon.com is only $16.49 and the hardcover is just $23.09.

This year for d-group, we as a group decided that we needed to have a "group covenant". The purpose of the group covenant is to lay the ground rules and expectations for our group. This past Sunday night, we spoke extensively to our students about this, and asked them what they thought our values as a group should be. What follows is the covenant that THEY came up with. We'll be meeting this Sunday night to confirm it, and then sign it. Once signed, these will be the expectations that our students will be under in order to attend d-group.

D-Group Covenant
Fall/Winter 2008

1. We’ll meet each Sunday night from 6-8pm.
2. We’ll meet at Eastview Christian Church.
3. Our Bible study will focus on basic Christian theology.
4. We will agree on the following primary values for our group…

Priority- While we are in the group, we will give the group meetings priority, and if we are unable to attend or are running late, we’ll call ahead. If we miss 3 group meetings, we expect to be confronted about our absence, and continued absenteeism will lead to my not being involved in the group.

Confidentiality- Confidentiality is expected. Gossiping about our group will not be tolerated. Anyone caught gossiping will be confronted and asked to leave the group, for good.

Preparation- All members are expected to come to our group time prepared. Prepared means:
• You have read a minimum of 4 days from your Bible per week.
• You have all required homework completed (notes taken, questions answered, reading, assignments, etc).
• You have your Bible, journal, pen/pencil and all assignments with you.
• A consistent lack of preparedness (3 times) will lead to confrontation, and if it continues, will lead to my not being involved in the group.

Respect- All members of the group are expected to respect one another. We need to be quiet and attentive when people are speaking, show maturity during disagreement, and love one another in thought, word and deed. Disrespect will not be tolerated, and could lead to my not being involved in the group.

An “in” for new people- The group stays open to new people as long as they understand the ground rules. The guidelines for filling the open chair are: Students wishing to come to d-group may come up to 3 times. After the third time, they will be asked to sign the covenant. Should they not desire to sign, they will not be able to participate.

Scripture memorization- Group members will be expected to memorize at least one passage/month. The text will be relevant to the current study.

I understand that the purpose of D-group is to deepen my relationship with Christ. I know D-Group is a commitment and will keep it a top priority. I understand that failure to follow our group covenant will lead to my not being involved with the group. In understanding all of these things, I commit to being a part of d-group for the September-December 2008 session.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Parent Resources

I thought I'd pass along some of the resources that have come to my e-mail inbox this week. I'll pass them on to you and hope that you'll check them out.

Focus on the Family

9 Marks


Center For Parent/Youth Understanding


In addition to those, I have several books that you might find interesting.

By Walt Mueller-
Youth Culture 101
Engaging the Soul of Youth Culture

By Mark DeVries
Family-Based Youth Ministry
Partnering with Parents in Youth Ministry (written with Chap Clark)

Please remember that I am here to help in any way that I can. If you'd like some resources or to just get together and talk...I'm here for you!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

They Have Names...

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Indoctrinated or Educated?

From "The Journal of Student Ministries" comes this thought-provoking article. Good stuff.

Thoughts and Questions for Student Ministry Leaders

Today church leaders have been bewildered about how detached high school graduates are from the local church.

What’s the causing this detachment?

You and me.

I’m convinced we’re a major part of the problem.

Self-Evaluation Needed
From my perspective there are many contributing factors to this epidemic of detachment, but here I want to discuss one that relates to all of us: How we define educated. It’s a major issue needing attention in most, if not all of, our churches.

So, to start the process I invite you to take a step back and look at some questions I’ve been asking about the bigger picture of education beyond the home, Sunday school, or midweek youth group.

Educating Kids
We as church leaders know the information we want to offer, package it in age-appropriate ways, and then communicate that information. We stand firm on our beliefs and seek to invest in kids, hoping they’ll embrace truth as we have. We desire to give our kids an accurate picture of God and Christ-like living. We want them to understand a life of faith, please God in all of their pursuits, and live with authenticity regarding who they say they are as Christians.

Sound about right?

Okay, two opening questions to begin our thought process:

How do you define “educated”?

How would you define an educated high school senior?

For instance, I’ve noticed that most of the time adults teach adult faith concepts to young kids...and believe they’re educating them. For instance, we talk about pursuing “a relationship with God”—which is at the core of Christian belief—but have six-year-olds ever consciously and intentionally pursued relationships with anyone? How will they do that with God, an abstract being?

We adults know how to process “a relationship with God,” but not little kids who’re extremely limited in their abstract-thinking capabilities. The same kind of thing can be said (but to a lesser degree) about the ways in which we teach middle schoolers and high schoolers.

Questions
Is it possible that our students are hearing things other than what we’re trying to say?

If so, what’s their perception, and how does it affect their view of Christianity and the church?

Can this dichotomy in perception have negative effects? If so, what might they be?

Information Versus Education
We have to understand the potentially negative effect of just disseminating information, teaching classes, or buying better curriculums. We can easily believe that a way to help kids keep their faith when they go away to college is to just give them more information. However, reducing detachment after high school is not so much about giving more information as it is about helping teenagers embrace the knowledge they already have. Piling on more information through classes and bible studies doesn’t necessarily educate kids; this philosophy of education will actually repel college-age people.

A Question We Should All Ask Ourselves
Do I spend more time giving information and putting on programs than I do helping students embrace the information they already have?

If we answer “yes” to this question, we’re not truly educating our kids. We’re simply disseminating information and, I believe, contributing to the detachment problem.

Battling University Philosophy
Many college students who’ve grown up in church aren’t excited about the prospect of church now that they’re away from home—especially when they’re presented one-sided, overly simplistic information. They already feel as though they’ve heard it all (which, of course, they haven’t), processed through it all (which, of course, they haven’t), and want to explore other faith possibilities—or none at all (which, of course, they do).

Here’s the problem: They’ve been given some information from a Christian perspective—making them feel as though they’re “educated”—but they’ve never really thought through the implications of that information. More importantly, they haven’t been forced to think through these concepts outside of the Christian tradition. Consequently they go to college and are challenged in shocking and sometimes faith-shattering ways. They weren’t really educated on the issues; they were just given some information.

College professors intentionally expose gray areas, which the church tends to shy away from. So college is often the first place our kids are forced to think through faith at this level. Unfortunately this means most are doing so out from under the wings of loving Christian voices. On the contrary, college professors tend to embrace secular humanism.

A Question We Must Ask Ourselves
Do I teach solely from a Christian perspective, or do I expose my kids to opposing philosophies and then walk through with them the reasons why a biblical view makes sense?

Telling our kids about only one spiritual perspective doesn’t necessarily mean we’ve educated our kids; it just means we gave them biased, often overly simplistic information.

Information Minus Thought = Detachment
Generally speaking the educational philosophy embraced in most churches—i.e., disseminating as much information as possible through classes and Bible studies—doesn’t prepare kids for the intellectual challenges they’ll face in college. Plus, most churches don’t embrace college-age members with age-appropriate ministries. This is the time of life when they naturally reevaluate all the assumptions they grew up with. And we lose our kids when we leave it to college professors to guide their thought processes as they go through these reevaluations.

Questions to Consider
Once your students graduate from high school, who’s shepherding them as they reevaluate every assumption they grew up with?

Should we be the ones causing reevaluation—or should we leave this up to college professors? Why or why not?

When we simply spoon feed morality to our high school students and then let them drop off the earth after they graduate, we do them a great disservice. From a college-age person’s perspective, this philosophy of education is trite, unauthentic, and overly simplistic. On the contrary, when they’re forced to think about and evaluate important topics in new and exciting ways in classrooms versus our homes and churches, we lose. Every time.

Questions for Leaders to Ask
Are we teaching our kids morality? Or ideas that are faith stimulating?

Are we challenging thought or just repeating the information provided in Christian books without ever going deeper?

Some More Questions
There are so many questions we should be asking ourselves for the sake of evaluating our effectiveness—or lack thereof. Here are a few more questions vital for student ministry leaders to ask themselves:

1. Are there things we’re teaching kids in youth group that parents are undermining in the home?

2. If so, what are those things and how do we go about educating parents about these issues? (Note: If parents aren’t a part of our education equation, we’re in serious trouble!)

3. Do we really welcome and discuss questions, thoughts, and doubts, or do we tend to shut down questions with overly simplistic information?

4. Do our kids feel free to tell us about their questions and doubts? If not, how do we encourage this? (Note: In order to shepherd our kids, we have to know what they’re thinking.)

5. Have we ever really thought through our faith and embraced a Christian lifestyle beyond the knowledge of simple information? (Note: If not, our kids won’t.)

6. Are there different philosophies of education within our church leadership? If so, how can we work toward being on the same page?

One Last Musing and Some Practical Steps
Answering all these questions can take literally years. Unfortunately if we don’t take seriously the prospect of answering these types of questions, our ignorance will inevitably show itself in the continued and worsening detachment of high school graduates.

So here are some practical steps we can take:

1. Clearly define what it means to educate kids—and beyond giving information.

2. Unveil and be honest about different philosophies of education in your church.

3. Have biweekly meetings with your staff where all you do is discuss questions like the ones in this article. Too often our staff meetings are task driven; we need many more meetings that talk through our philosophy of education.

4. List characteristics of an educated high school senior and then structure your ministry around building those characteristics into your students.

5. Figure out a way to walk alongside college-age people. We can do all the right things up until their senior years, but if we drop them after they graduate, all of it was worthless.

6. This week in youth group, instead of teaching, share some questions or even doubts you have! When our kids see us being honest about these things and yet firmly holding to the truth of Scripture, we’re (and they’re) heading down the right path.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Getting caught up

I've spent the last few days going through and compiling the feedback from those who went on our recent (1 week ago!) Mission Mexico trip. Their input is humbling. Much of what is written is amazing in it's honesty. They were (and are, no doubt) wrestling with some tough stuff.

Once it's all put together, I'll be in touch and schedule visits, starting early next week.

Please continue to pray for those who went and their families.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Some post-trip thoughts-Student

From Jenai's xanga:

"buenos dias!
dias? tardes hombre!!



well i dont really know what to say.

mexico was a freaking blast! i loved it! but i was asked by someone while there if the trip was a let down, or if it wasnt what i expected..and my answer was; no. it was more than i expected cause ive taught myself to not have expectations about things like that. but i was dissapointed with some things..well people acctually, even with me. i was dissapointed with the way we all treated each other and the attitudes that we all had. and i was also asked by the same person what i would change about the trip..and my answer was "nothing,, well thats a lie...i would change the length of the trip, make it longer.. but other than that, nothing..cause i cant change peoples personalities..even tho at times i wish i could, theres no way i could..." so i accepted that..and i still had the best time of my life there but i do wish people could change. and that the people who i had problems with could have sucked it up and gotten over their problems. cause that was a let down.

but on the flip side, i got really close to a couple people. and im super happy about that, cause they're my best friends now. and i love them to death!! all of us have our inside jokes now, and they are the best ones EVER!! and we have our memories, pictures, creepers and bruises that will hopefully never go away.

well, i dont know where im going with this..and probably none of that makes much sense...but whatever..cause i dont feel like going over it and re-writing it, again. lol...but i do feel like going back and never leaving!!

so yeah...im off now...if you want to hear stories lemme know...or look at the pictures, and watch the videos...cause they're freakin awesome!!!"

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Thoughts...

Over the nest few days, our students will be posting pictures, videos and thoughts of the trips on their various blogs and Facebook sites. I posted my thoughts this morning on my own blog. You can read it here.

The kids and adults who went need time. Time to think. Time to express. Time to share. Here's what I suggest. Listen. Look at their pictures. Listen to them tell the same stories 8,000 times. Allow them to be excited. Allow them to shed tears. And then, and only then, ask them what it all meant. Ask them how they grew.

I'll be visiting each of the families of those who went over the next few weeks. God did what He always does, He was amazing. I ask that you be patient with me as you listen to your students talk about the hardships that we went through while there. I'll see you all soon.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Big Debrief Days

We made it safely back to the US, and have had 2 tough, but amazing days of debrief, but GOD IS GOOD! I'm looking forward to putting all of their thoughts down and meeting with all of the students and families of those who went over the next few weeks.

We're leaving KC tomorrow morning by 9am, and should be home by 3pm. In the meantime, one more video!!

Friday, July 25, 2008

The last few days

*Edit




No posts. Why?

We've been busy.

We've been up early climbing mountains. That morning, both Elva Jean and Samantha tripped and injured themselves. It was hard to see that happen, knowing that nothing could be done as they fell, then bled. Sam's twisted knee has been a downer for her as she watches the rest of the students play games with the kids.

We've been spending long days at Pavon and then the Mission, then returning to eat and have devotions. Our times in the home have been the most challenging. Relationally, 15 people have been put in an environment that is more conducive to stress than not. There have been great moments of dysfunctionality.

Yesterday, it rained. A lot. It also hailed. We left the Mission and drove through streets flooded because of the lack of sewers and storm drains. We got back to the youth home to find water everywhere. And our team had a breakthrough. We worked together as a group. There were no speeches about what needed to be done, we did not need to prep for 6 months in advance...we just worked. And it was beautifully encouraging.

Last night, before dinner, the power went off, and remained off for several hours. We'll post the recap video from the last few days when we can.

This week, our devotions centered on people in Scripture who underwent struggles, temptations and trials. Jesus, Job, David, Daniel, Shadrach, Meschach and Abednego. It was no accident. It was what our group needed to through and with, and I hope and pray that they will see that while growth comes through happy times, and joyous interactions with one another, it also comes through times of challenge and hardship. On this trip we have experienced both happiness and hardship.

We just had our AM devotional. 24 hours from now, we'll be in McAllen. Culture shock will be in full-force. Please pray for our group as we work through our trip together over the weekend.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

VBS Day 2 Video...

Long day today...

Monday, July 21, 2008

Mission Mexico-Pavon/Mission VBS Day 1

Hey guys this is Nate and I just wanted to say that I'm having fun, this is what I'm doing.
we started VBS today and I'm a leader with the 9-year old girls and they're lots of fun. We have been playing lots of futbol. Where going to climb the mountain tomorrow at like 5 in the morning!!!!! The food here is great and new. At the market I bought a poncho and souvenirs for family and friends. I have been taking lots of pictures of cool things we're doing to show you all.

see you soon,
-Nate


Sunday, July 20, 2008

Sunday Update

From Nickie Smith...

Hola! Como estas??? ... lo siento... or sorry.. right now I speak Spanish quicker than English.. which is stinkin AWESOME!!!!

Today was really amazing. We went to church this morning and heard the entire thing in Spanish, which was really, really cool. Amy (the missionary) interpreted Johns message, which was interesting. I wore a dress... *watches everyone who knows her pass out* ... that I bought at the market on Friday (?) I believe. It was cool. After the service we ate at the church; they were celebrating their 15th year of being a church. Juan and Armando (2 kids from Rancho Nuevo, who are the most amazing kids EVER!!! I love them a lot!) and David and all of us teens played Tag before and after church, and again at Rancho Nuevo this afternoon. When we got done, we started helping Amy prepare for VBS tomorrow at the church... which consisted of coloring, coloring, and more coloring, lol. We also testing to see how long it will take to get from one station to the next. It soon became a race, and was so much fun. There's nothing quite like running around screaming "DONDE ESTA SHERI'S CUARTO?" at the top of your lungs, and finding Sheri's room 20 seconds before Amy blows her whistle. It was pretty darn amazing. We ran back "home" and changed (this entire time we were all still in our dresses and dress shirts.. hahahahaha), and then headed out to Rancho Nuevo for our last time. Tengo muy triste!! I'm sad. I really miss Juan screaming "TENGO PAZ COMO RIO" ("I've got peace like a river") at the top of his little lungs, and all of the kids asking for my camera the second I pull it out of my pocket. "Bateria al fin".. "Battery all done" became one of the most used phrases.. along with "Que?", "Lo Siento", and "Aqui Aqui!" (Here, here!). The kids were amazing, some of them less than a year old. After Rancho Nuevo we went back to the church to finish up for VBS tomorrow and for a prayer meeting, then we came back here to Brigido's to work on them and hang out with the youth in the Youth Home. They are all really really funny. After dinner Adam and I were doing the dishes, and I was telling him a story, and I started jumping up and down and hopping on one foot explaining. 2 of the guys, Marco and Jeremy just looked at me like I'd lost my mind. My nickname is now "Loca".. hahahahaha.

So, right now a bunch of us are coloring and cutting out stuff.. everyone is exhausted, but no one wants to go home. Life in Mexico is amazing. I love the kids, and the adults are amazing. Yesterday I was trying to take a group picture of all the kids, and instead of saying "Smile" in Spanish, I said "Cerveza", or Beer. Brigido was definately smiling.

We have 2 Katies here, and so right now we're trying to figure out how to tell them apart. Katy is an intern here and has been interning for 3 months now. I think that's really cool. She speaks as fluently as the Mexicans.

Okay, I'm gonna go back and help so that we all can hopefully sleep tonight (hahaha). Buenos Noches!

From San Luis Potosi,
~Nickie

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Saturday @ Rancho Nuevo

Today's student blogger...Katie Mulholland

This morning we slept in because it rained last night, we couldn't climb the mountain...: (!!!! We had an amazing breakfast of eggs, sausage, and fried bread. Yummy! After breakfast we chilled until we went to the church and colored! My fav past time! We came back "home" for lunch of chicken and rice. The most amazing chicken in the world. We hopped on the bus and went to Rancho Nuevo. Every time I go there the kids rip my heart out. We drive down the "road" and kids come from everywhere just to see us! The kids surround us and try to hop on our shoulders or hug us! It's truly incredible. The lessons start and the kids are sooo excited that they talk non-stop until we tell them to listen to the story. After we colored again but with stickers this time. Afterwards we play outside with the ball or just them climbing on us. Tag is my personal favorite because they don't know who is it and they all chase you!! Back at the home we chilled and I slept...shhh! A bunch of messing around later is dinner with ham sandwiches. Devotions are later then to bed for an amazing day tomorrow at church.
-Katie Mulholland


Friday, July 18, 2008

Video Recaplet...

Work day-1

We arrived last night (this morning??) about 12:30am in SLP. we got to Brigido's house around 1am, had some ham sandwiches, and then went to bed.

We awoke this morning about 8am, and had our devotional time. The focus was realizing that we are away from the "normal" things that mark our lives...XBox, cellphones, Facebook, etc and how we needed to make a transition to focusing on what God wants with us. We spent time in prayer, and then had a great breakfast of pancakes and bacon. The kids ate well. Then we were off to Pavon Church of Christ to do some work there. We cleaned chairs, created a wall where there was none before, and the swept the whole building. We returned to the youth home and ate lunch: taquitos and salad, and the students had their first taste of "real" coke in a bottle. In about an hour, we're going to head to Rancho Nuevo for a day of VBS, and then to the market tonight.

Today's guest blogger is Jenai Holley...here are some of her thoughts...

yesterday was A LOT of fun! :) we woke up super early so that we could get on a really small plane too Houston, Texas then about 15 minutes after landing we got on another to McAllen, Texas. on that flight we went over the Gulf of Mexico..and that was really awesome. the water was so blue and calm..beautiful! and then, we went to the bus station and waited a while there, eating $5 foot longs from subway (eat fresh) and tried sleeping a little. and so at about 1:15 our 10 hour bus ride on the Noreste bus to San Luis Potosi started. we got to the border not too long after leaving and that took longer than expected. :( but all is well! cause everything worked out without a hitch and we were in Mexico at last! :) while on the bus, spiderman 3 started playing, of course it was in spanish with no subtitles. so some people watched it others went to sleep (which was most needed in my case) then finally after 5 spanish movies, one english flick that you could not hear and looking at God's creation (which was incredible) were all finished, we were in SLP at last! :) Brigido was there waiting for us in the bus station and helped us load up the truck and brought us to his home. which is the cutest house i think i have ever seen! :)

well...im done now cause that was longer than john wanted im sure. lol :)
te paz guys! see you all when we're back. :) ~jenai



From now on, click on the link on the left (at the top) for the photo albums of the trip. It'll be easier than adding a link to each post. Each album holds up to 60 photos, so when they get full, I'll build a new one!

Travel Day 2-Kansas City to Houston to McAllen to SLP

**UPDATE**

I cannot get yesterday's video to compresse properly, so there will not be a video recap today...sorry!



We made it here safely last night. There are some new photos here.

I'll try to post a video update later in the day.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Travel Day 1

Travel Day photos here...

And now for something new...

Today is the day!

All of the planning and preparations are done. Expectations are set. This is my 13th time going to Mexico and 9th time going to San Luis Potosi. This group of 15 is the largest that I have taken, and I am excited to see and participate in God's good work with them. My 2 oldest children, Katie and Nathan are a part of this group, and I can't wait to experience this with members of my family. I am proud of all of those going. They have worked hard and earned it. The months of d-group, LIFE group, the hard work they put in, is all about to pay off.

I'll post later in the day from Kansas City.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Mission: Mexico

It's hard to believe that we are just 2 short days from leaving for San Luis Potosi. We'll be posting comments, observations and pictures over the next 2 weeks.

Please be in prayer for our students, leaders and brothers and sisters in Christ there in San Luis Potosi!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Mission Kansas: Home!

What an incredible week! We painted a fenceline that was over 1400 feet long...stained some bleachers, picked up after a massive storm, and had an incredible 4th of July.

Please take a look at ALL of our photo albums (some pics have been added)

Album 1

Album 2

Album 3

Album 4

Album 5

Album 6

Album 7

Album 8

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Finally!

Lot's of things going on...

We finished the fence!
We had an amazing storm last night, 4-5 inches of rain in an hour, hail, flash-flooding. It was crazy.
We spent the morning today doing storm clean-up and the afternoon at the high elements course. Pictures updated!

Talent show tonight!

Pictures are here, here, here, and here.

Mission Kansas: Update

We have had some internet troubles over the last few days, so I have been unable to update when I'd like to. I'll work on it now, hopefully there will be new pictures up soon...

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Mission Kansas: Day 3

Tuesday was another busy day here at Morning Star Ranch. We spent the morning and afternoon working hours doing some serious painting on the corral. We'll be done with this project by Wednesday noon. We'll all be thankful.

Anne and I made a run to our "local" Wal Mart for water. It took about 2 hours to get there and back, but now we have what we need to finish the week out. Last night, Ben built us an awesome fire for roasting hotdogs and marshmallows...and I even had 3 hotdogs!

After a few games of "nuke-em" on the volleyball court, we had our night time devo and called it an early night for bed.

We talked with Val and Meg from the ranch about our Friday the 4th plans...high ropes course, zip line, fireworks, it will be a great way to end the week.

The kids are working really hard, we've accomplished a lot and I hope when they leave they'll feel good about the work done and be excited about coming back. We've had some good quiet times as well, I know that God is speaking to them through our time here, and I hope that they'll be listening to Him!

Monday, June 30, 2008

Mission Kansas: Day 2

Today was a GREAT day here at Morning Star Ranch...We had an awesome morning devotional time, and then sausage and cereal for breakfast. Then, it was off to our worksites for the day. The job? Paint a huge corral and scrape paint off bleachers to prep them for painting. The girls did the corral and the guys worked on the bleachers. Lunch was hamburgers, and then it was back to work.

We spent time in the pool after work, and just ate dinner. We're all having a great time, and wish you were here.

Our devo time last night focused on our relationship with God....where are we now? We all say we want to get closer to God, but what does that look like? Are we just creating legalism when we talk about daily scripture reading and prayers, or are those things a necessary part of our relationship with our Father?

Be sure to check out our pictures! We add some each day!

Album 1
Album 2

We made it! Travel day.

We had a long drive, and after a stop at Subway, a gas break and some shopping at Emporia, we arrived last night about 7:15pm. We unpacked, and then spent time checking out the camp, iking, basketball, volleyball, ropes course, it's all here.

The camp director, Jim Elam gave us an orientation for the camp, and then we talked about or devo for the week. We also got our assignments for the week, painting, painting and more painting.

The students all had time to spend with God, and then we got together to talk about what we could expect from God this week. So...what can we expect? That he'll talk to us, loudly, clearly and openly. And it's our job to listen for it.

For some pictures, go here.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Mission:Kansas, -1 Day

The bags are packed, the trailer is attached to the van, and we're fueled and ready to go.  

We are taking 17 people to Morning Star Ranch in Florence Kansas for a "beginner's" mission trip.  Most of the students going are in grades 6-8, with a few high schoolers and adults along. We'll be painting, cleaning, clearing brush, hiking, swimming, relaxing, camp-firing and everything in between.  

We'll be doing a study through the book of Ephesians for our devotional time.

Tomorrow, we leave by 9am and hope to be at MSR by 6pm.  I'll post updates and pictures throughout the week, so be sure to check back often!!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Please Read

Due to the number of "off-campus" events during the month of July, there will be no Sunday night or Wednesday night meetings for July.

No youth group or d-group.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Youth Culture Watch

I heard the song, "I Kissed a Girl" by Katy Perry last week, and was quite disturbed by it. Today, I received a "Culture Update" from CPYU, The Center for Parent/Youth Understanding about the song and video. First, the video...



I recommend reading the "3D Evaluation" of this song and video at Walt Mueller's website, found here.

Finally, go to the MTV link where people can leave comments about the video. Here are some sample comments...

"You never really know if you are straight or gay unless you try with both genders."

"I love it!!! I think every girl at some point in their life "kissed a girl" "just to try it" :-)"

"About time American publicizes girls that swing towards boys but are fully capable of enjoying their gfs on occasion :)"

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Youth Group Tonight

I understand that there are travel problems due to all of the water issues...we are still planning on meeting tonight, so if you can make it...we'll see you there!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Eastview Parent's Weekly, June 1-7

There are some exciting things taking place in the coming weeks!

First, this week is our promotion week...we had 2 high school seniors graduate, and are welcoming in 5 new 6th graders!

Second, we have had enough donations to purchase a church van. This will make a HUGE difference in our ability to bring kids to Eastview, both Wednesday nights and on Sundays. A big thank you to all who donated.

Third...Mission Kansas is less than 4 weeks away. Transportation plans are being finalized...devo’s being written, food prep being done...please pray for those going on this trip: Derek Lochner, Katie Fortner, Kyle Hoback, Jordan Linhoss, Evan Linhoss, Beth Frederick, Brittany Kiley, Nathan Mulholland, Katie Mulholland, Larissa Bisig, Ben Bradshaw, Merle & EJ Stone, Anne and I, and John 3.

Fourth...Mission Mexico is only...6 weeks away. We have 2 more trip meetings scheduled (June 22 and July 12). Please pray for those goingg on this trip as well: Nathan Mulholland, Katie Mulholland, Dillon Bisig, Kassi Hoback, Breanna Smith, Nickie Smith, Samantha Holley, Jenai Holley, Adam Bates, Ben Bradshaw, Merle and EJ Stone, Laurie Thomas, Josh Davis and myself.

Not to mention camps, youth group, Sunday school and d-groups...

ONE CRAZY SUMMER!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Kansas Mission Trip Packing List


Here’s the rule of thumb…if you don’t NEED it, don’t take it!


What to pack

A servant’s heart

A willingness to work

Toiletries/basic makeup

Sunscreen

Chapstick

Sleeping clothes

Flip-flops/shower shoes

Towel/washcloth

Jacket/sweater (it may be cool in the evenings)

Snack food (crackers, granola bars, etc-to share!)

Juice boxes (if you want)

Small flashlight

Hat

Work gloves

Camera/film/batteries

Swimsuit-one piece, ladies!

Bible/pen/notebook/journal

Basic wardrobe items (Shorts, t-shirts, jeans-clothes you don’t mind getting dirty)

Comfortable shoes (we will walk A LOT)

Bedding (sheets, a light blanket or sleeping bag)

Sunglasses

Plastic bags (for wet items and dirty laundry)

Wet wipes

Prescription

Something to do at night (Phase 10, UNO, etc…)



What NOT to pack/take

A bad attitude

Alcohol, tobacco, or drugs

Cell Phone

More than $50 in spending money

Curlers/straighteners/blow dryers, etc…



Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Eastview Parent's Weekly

I hope that you all had a great Memorial Day weekend. I spent it in Ohio with MFP (that’s My Friend Phil); he’s going to Iraq in a few weeks with the 1st Cavalry Division. I know that he covets your prayers, both for safety and encouragement for him as well as prayers for his wife and their 2 children. He’ll be gone for 15 months. We had a great visit, I saw many people that I have not seen in years.

We are in the process of raising money for a van, and are a little more than halfway there. $2150 more puts us at the needed $5000. Would you consider helping us get there?

Here are the upcoming events that you should know about:

Sunday School
We’re continuing our Faithweaver Study. From June to August, we’ll be in the Old Testament. I hope that you’ll encourage your kids to come join us on Sunday mornings!

D-Group
On Sunday nights, we’re continuing our “What the Bible says about...” series. This coming week is “...the role of women in the church” and followed by “...hope.”, and then “...government.” and then “...war.” This is an important series, I hope that you’ll encourage your students to join us!

Youth Group
We don’t stop for the summer! We’re continuing our year-long study into the Personhood of Jesus! He’s the central figure of the Bible. Beginning next week, our 5th graders transition into youth group. This will be a nervous time for them, and getting them involved early and often is the key.

Reminder:
June 1st is the “early bird” date for our camp. The registration form was included in May’s parent mailing.

Mission Trips
Our Kansas Mission Trip is one month away. We’re leaving Sunday morning, June 29th at 8am. The packing list will be posted on the Eastview Parent’s webpage under the “Resources” heading by the end of the day today.

Our Mexico Mission Trip prep is coming along well. We’ve had 2 meetings so far, and I have the final list of VBS topics from our mission hosts. Our next meeting is scheduled for June 22 at 4:30pm.

As always, I can be reached in a number of ways. My door is open, email works, and my cell phone is on. If you have questions or concerns, if you want prayer for your family, please let me know. I pray for our students and you regularly.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Eastview Parent's Weekly

Summer is almost here, although it feels like spring. With summer comes transitions, vacations, family activities, etc.

As of the end of May, Seth and Megan Clark, who have faithfully served our ministry team since before I came here, will be transitioning out. Megan is pregnant, with the baby due in July. We will miss them. They have worked hard in establishing relationship with our students by teaching, spending time with them, Megan went on our mission trip to Mexico in 2006, and they hosted last years Christmas party. They will indeed be missed.

There are several adults that I am speaking with about joining our ministry team. If you’re interested, please let me know.

I am currently taking applications from students for our “Student Intern” program for the 2008-2009 school year. This is a huge commitment on the part of a student. If you’d like to know more, I’ve attached a copy of the Student Intern Contract.

With mission trips, vacations and other things going on, there will be a few weeks that we may not meet during the summer months. I’ll point these out in the bulletin, monthly parent letters, weekly emails, and I will make every effort to keep the online events calendar updated. Here are the “for-sure” no meeting dates:

Sunday May 25- no d-group
Wednesday July 16- no youth group
Sunday July 20- no d-group
Sunday July 27- no d-group

Bill will be teaching Sunday school this coming weekend, as I’ll be in Ohio with Phil before he leaves for Iraq. On Sunday night, June 2, Hannah Burkle, the youth minister at the Cedar Falls Church of Christ, and I will be co-teaching our d-group lesson that night...the topic is “What does the Bible say about women in the church?”

Monday, May 12, 2008

Eastview Parent's Weekly, the Resource Issue

One of the values for our ministry here is to equip you as parents, especially as you try to help them become disciples of Christ. Here are some things that I have found valuable to our ministry; these will give you a little peak into the minds of those who minister to your students. Some are articles from the blogs from other youth ministers as well as youth ministry and culture websites, some are podcasts and sermons I listen to, others are books, many of which I own, and are available for me to loan to you.

Weblogs/Web Pages:
Understanding and Parenting Your Teen

An Open Letter to All Youth Group Parents

Center for Parent Youth Understanding

Podcasts
A Vision For the Next Generation
A five-part series from John Piper on the importance of the people of the next generation (our students) within the Body of Christ. The link for the
first in this series is at the bottom of the webpage.

Understanding and Parenting Your Teen

Books
Family-Based Youth Ministry”-Mark DeVries

Partnering With Parents in Youth Ministry”-Jim Burns, Mark DeVries

Hurt: Inside the World of Today’s Teenagers”-Chap Clark

Youth Culture 101”-Walt Mueller

Engaging the Soul of Youth Culture”-Walt Mueller

Movies/Videos
Soul Searching: A Movie About Teenagers and God

PBS Home Video: Frontline: Growing Up Online

Please let me know if you would like to borrow one of these resources!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

the Rebelution

I wanted to take a moment to tell you about an event called "The Rebelution".  It is put on by two 19 year-old students named Alex and Brett Harris.  their older brother, Joshua Harris, is the author of the book I Kissed Dating Goodbye.  The event is in Minneapolis on June 21st.  The cost per student is $30, adults are $20, plus food and a hotel expense (split among those going).  

I've heard about it from a number of sources, World Magazine, a John Piper sermon, and Gretchen Holley.  

I encourage you to hop over to their website.  If you'd like for your student to go, please let me know over the next week or so.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Parents Weekly

God is good!

Kansas Mission Trip Update
We had our Kansas Mission Trip meeting last night. We have 12 students going on this “First Timers” trip, and I’m excited to see God at work. There will be a packing list to those going within the next few weeks.

Mexico Mission Trip Update
Our next meeting is May 18th, from 4:30-5:45 pm. Students should be working on their memory verses. As previously communicated, these meetings are mandatory.

CIY Believe
We have 8 students going to CIY Believe in Omaha this coming weekend. We’ll leave at 10 am on Friday, and try to be back by 11pm on Saturday night. We’ll be staying in a hotel, so students should bring a change of clothes, shower items, etc. They also need to bring their Bible, a journal and a pen. There is NO pool at this hotel. :(

Sermon Notes Contest
Please, read this carefully. Beginning next Sunday, May 11, and running through Sunday August 10, our middle school and high school students will have the chance to win either a 2GB iPod Shuffle or $75 in iTunes. All they have to do is take notes during our Sunday corporate worship service. The forms are available on the bulletin board outside my office, along with the official rules of the contest. How does a student win? The person who turns in the most COMPLETED (fully complete) forms is the grand prize winner. The runner-up wins $30 in itunes. There will be a random drawing of all those who fill out at least one form for a $15 iTunes giftcard. In the event of a tie for the grand prize, there will be some sort of tie-breaker. Why am I doing this? I want our students to be engaged in our Sunday worship service. I’ll be keeping track of the student’s progress throughout the summer. Let me know if you have any questions!

Have a great week!

Because of Jesus,

John Mulholland
Next Generations Minister
Eastview Christian Church

Friday, May 2, 2008

Ministry Update

God is doing amazing things here! This past weekend, we participated in World Vision's 30 Hour Famine. We are blessed to have students like Kassi Hoback, Rachel Davis and Samantha Holley. They planned, led and ran the event, and it was incredible. We also had students pick our worship songs and lead others in singing praises to God.

For details from a student perspective, and some pictures from the weekend, hop on over to our Eastview Chronicles website.

The May Parent letter is on it's way, it's chock full of news about our sumer camp, and also has details for our upcoming promotion Sunday.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Fundraiser Tonight Cancelled!

Due to inclement weather, the fundraiser tonight is canceled.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Eastview Parents Weekly-April 6-12

I’m out of the office this week to Willow Creek Community Church in Chicago for their Student Ministries Conference. It’s a great time of fellowship with other youth ministers and learning. Please pray for safe travel and a good conference!

Last night in d-group we have an excellent discussion about relativism and the need for truth and absolutes as Christians in the context of defending our faith. We’ll be visiting this topic for the next few weeks, especially dealing the nature of truth.

A few things coming up:

Fundraising Opportunities

Kernels Stadium post-game clean-up
This Saturday, April 12, 4:30-6pm. We’ll meet at Veterans Stadium about by 4:30, and stay until we’re done (hopefully by 6!). We need a few adults and about 5 students. Please let me know if your student will be there!

I was contacted by a church member of a need at their home-they need their eaves cleaned out. We need 2 students, pay will be $20/each and will take an hour or two. The have ladders and gloves. Please let me know by Wednesday if your student is interested.

Events

CIY Believe
Permission slips and $50 deposit due by April 16th, total trip cost is $90/student.

Mission: Kansas
For those students turning in permission slips/applications with $25 deposit by April 16th, the trip cost is $130/student.
For those students turning in permission slips/applications with $25 deposit by April 30th, the trip cost is $150/student.
Applications/permission slips not accepted for this trip after April 30th.

Mission: Mexico
Uno- Pre-trip meeting April 20th, 4:30-5:45pm. This is mandatory for all those going on the trip.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Eastview Parents Weekly 3/23-3/29

Greetings from Morning Star Ranch in Florence Kansas. My family and I are here to check it out before our youth ministry mission trip this summer. It is a sunny 58 degrees. This is a great facility! There are all sorts of outdoor things to do, and our students will be busy helping them recover from weeks of summer camps. Wednesday morning, we’re taking a trip into Wichita to the World Impact site there. I hope that you’ll be talking to your students about this GREAT opportunity to minister to others. The “early bird” cost of this trip per student is only $130. AFTER April 16th, the cost for the trip will increase to $150. Please help me plan for this trip with a $25 deposit and application turned in by April 16th. I’ve attached the application to this email.

Here are some websites about to check out.
http://www.worldimpact.org/ministries/cities/wichita.php
http://www.worldimpact.org/ministries/camps/msr.php

Upcoming Events

Wednesday, April 2nd
Come join us for the baptism of Ashley Heald, one of the high school students who has been a part of our Wednesday night youth group for about 5 months. The service starts about 6:50pm, will include worship led by one of Eastview’s worship teams, a brief message, baptism and communion.

Saturday, April 4th
Saturday Evening Meal Program- this is an opportunity for us to serve locally in Cedar Rapids. We need 5-7 students for the serving and clean-up opportunities...there is a sign up sheet at church this Wednesday night.

Servers 3:30-5:30 p.m.
Clean-up 4:30-6:30 p.m.

Saturday, April 12th
Kernels Stadium Clean-Up Fundraiser. The game begins at 2pm, so we need to be there by 4:30. We should be done by 6:30pm at the latest. We need about 5-7 students and a few adults to coordinate. If your students are going on one of our mission trips, or to camp this summer, this is for them!

Friday/Saturday April 25th/26th
World Visions 30 Hour Famine-packets will be handed out to students this week.

Friday/Saturday May 9/10
The “early bird” deadline for registration has passed. Cost per student is $90 until April 16th. After April 17th, the cost increases to $100/student (CIY’s cost increases on the dates listed).

Saturday, March 22, 2008

If you could ask God one question that He had to answer...what would you ask Him?

Why did you create us?
Why do people have such bad tempers
When will I die?
Why did you make me the way I am?
How can you love people who disobey you so much?
How is the world going to end, and when?
How old are you?
Did Samson really love Delilah?
So, Explain this whole love thing again...
What the hey is going on here?

Saturday, March 15, 2008

This Week's Question

Question: What is it about Jesus that attracted you to Him?

Answers:

He died for us so I thought it was really cool
He has the best coping skill ever
Forgiving soul and sin
Filling the hole
Someone I could talk to
Confidence in knowing I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength
His grace-scandalous acceptance of sinners and adamant for searching for the "sick"

Monday, March 10, 2008

Eastview Parents Weekly

CIY Believe (Middle School Students)
Why is the deposit due by March 23rd?

For registrations in by March 27th, the cost per student is only $80.
For registrations by April 17th, the cost per student goes to $90.
After April 17th, the cost per student goes to $100/student.

The above costs cover the conference, food, and HELP with transportation and lodging costs. I am going to be gone the week of March 23rd-28th, so I need to get registrations sent on March 24th.
If the deposit is prohibitive due to it only being 2 weeks away, please let me know immediately.
If the cost is prohibitive because of, well the cost, we have scholarship money available...it’s just earning interest! See me for a scholarship application.

YOUTH CULTURE 101
It’s this weekend at Eastview from 10am-3pm. The only investment from you is time and a couple bucks to help with meals. I promise that this will be worth your time. If you have not signed up, please let me know that you are coming so we can plan for meals and space.

Fundraising
The Wendy’s fundraiser for tomorrow night has been CANCELLED.

Cleaning Kernels Stadium
We are signed up for the following dates to clean Kernels Stadium after their games. We’ll need a couple of adults and about 7 students per game.

Day Game Time

sat 4/12 2:00
fri 5/16 6:30
sat 5/17 6:30
sat 8/16 7:00
mon 8/18 7:00
tues 8/19 7:00
fri 8/29 7:00
sat 8/30 7:00

We also have the ability to be “ticket-takers” this year. We would provide 5 people, aged 16 and up, and make $55/game. I’m finding out more details about this.

Hope to see you all this Saturday!

Friday, February 29, 2008

This week's questions

Each week, we are asking the students who come to Wednesday night youth group to respond to 2 questions. Here are this weeks' questions and responses.

Question 1-What does God require of us?


-Believe in him and his word
-our everything 24/7
-obey him
-he requires us to do the Ten Commandments
-to obey your parents
-obey
-to be good people
-to listen to your older sister
-to live by his word and not to put no gods before him
-to believe in him
-love, glory and honor
-authenticity
-to do his will with him in mind

Question 2- What are your biggest temptations?

-seeing people happier than me
-peer pressure
-lust
-greed
-to be alone with myself and look at all of the horrible things I have done
-thinking everyone is prettier than me
-rebellion
-lust
-selfishness