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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Family Ministry- A Model- Milestone 7



Part 1


Part 2


Part 3- Milestones 1 & 2

Part 4- Milestones 3 & 4

Part 5- Milestones 5 & 6

Well...we've "made it".  And, if you'll notice, the process begins at birth and we now find ourselves with a high school graduate.  For those of you really paying attention...this took 18 years.  Please focus on the last part of that last sentence..."this took 18 years."  This is discipleship.  There is no quick fix option for making followers of Christ.  For making "rule-followers" and "pew sitters"?  That's the easiest thing in the world.  But, discipleship is an entirely different row to hoe.  But...even here...after high school...we are not done.  If those 18 years were rough, the "terrible two's", adolescence, the temptations of high school...what about college?  Career?  Life in the church?  Parenthood?

Milestone 7- Life in Christ. "Every adult has a place at the table of Milestone 7--single or married, kids or no kids, young or old, all of us must abide in Christ and join him in the mission.  Churches embracing a strategy linking church and home for the spiritual formation of the next generation can;t afford to be apathetic about adult spiritual development.  All along the path of milestones, we ask adults to be disciple-makers.  Adults who become parents are expected to be the primary faith influencers of their children.  Adults from every season of life serve in the ministries relating to children and teenagers.  The key to this entire strategy involves developing adults who are also parents, volunteer leaders and deeply committed Christ-followers."

Wow.  You read that right, every single adult in the church, regardless of age, situation...every one, is committed to making disciples of the young people in the church.  
  • Champion:  The champion for this milestone is the discipleship pastor, spiritual formation pastor or senior pastor.  This person has three primary responsibilities:
    • Selection of curriculum that is focused on making disciples of Jesus Christ, teaches the Bible, embraces the core competencies (below) of this milestone, and integrates families.  If this seems like a lot, it is because it is.  As noted above, discipleship is not easy, and frankly, we need to stop acting like we make them when people simply sit in a pew for an hour on Sunday mornings.  If we are not holistic in our approach...if we are not truly equipping people, then we are not making disciples.  
    • Equips volunteer leaders to teach the Bible and model life in Christ.  If we are not equipping out lay leaders to lead, we are failing.
    • Works to equip all the adults to pursue life as people abiding in Christ. 
  • Core Competencies:  
    • Prayer- "When we study the earthly life of Jesus, we find a man of prayer."
    • Scripture- "Followers of Christ learn to study Scripture so they can live Jesus' way."
    • Authentic faith- "Authentic faith bows to the supremacy of Jesus as King, recognizing him as the head of every church and every home, according to Colossians 1:18."
    • Obedient follower- "Obedient followers know the Shepherd's voice and respond to his direction."
    • Disciple-maker- "We point adults to every ministry in our church for the opportunity to disciple others."  This is a fascinating concept, and one that I believe many churches miss.  Serving on the worship team, the building team, leading a class, cleaning the bathrooms, working in the kitchen, time with students...it's all about making disciples.  If we've not made that clear...then people are simply "filling a spot."  Every role we fill is bent on making disciples.
    • Giving/serving- "What if we truly gave and served to the point of making ourselves last so everyone else could be first?  What if we were truly servants of all?  Adults who embrace this core competency join in Christ's ministry to others.  Parents who learn to give and serve raise kids who respect others, love others, and prove it by giving and serving.  Husbands and wives who give and serve don't divorce."
    • Community- "We were designed for community.  The problem is that we're conditioned to be individualistc and self-sufficient...Biblical church is community."
  • Equipping Environments:  
    • Small group Bible studies- Teach adults Scripture and foster community
    • Adult education- Wednesday night classes geared to teach core competencies of the various milestones, within community.
    • Worship- Immerses adults in Scripture and milestones are highlighted as they occur.
Hard questions/why this might fail:  How committed are we to making disciples?  A strategy like the one above will force us to re-think every aspect of our corporate church life.  Sacred cows will be killed left and right, our time will be dramatically re-oriented, our priority-set will change.  We will spend time leading people down paths that might be better for them, against their wishes.  We will be constantly forced to choose between what we desire, and what we need to become a fully-committed follower of Christ.  While there are areas that could be implemented without full and complete church support, the implementation will be limited.

What might a complete overhaul within your church context look like?
How may people might you be willing to have walk because of a change of focus?
What kind of leaders might you need to recruit and equip to implement change?
What are the holes in the above strategy?  What are the blind-spots...the problems?

And...the most important question...is the above Biblical?  Why?  Why not?


Questions?  Concerns?  Possible solutions?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Family Ministry- A Model- Milestones 5 & 6



Part 1


Part 2


Part 3- Milestones 1 & 2

Part 4- Milestones 3 & 4

Milestone 5- Passage to Adulthood. This milestone "delineates the responsibilities associated with becoming a man or woman of God.  It also lays out the Bible's expectations that parents will lead their children to become men and women of God before they leave home."  This is the opportunity for kids, along with their parents, to become increasingly involved in specific activities within the church. 
  • Core Competencies: Roles of men and women, spiritual gifts and service, basic tenets of faith
  • Champion:  The champion for this milestone is the student ministry team, specifically a small group leader or the youth minister. 
  • Parent Seminar:  "Preparing my Child for Adulthood"- Parents are equipped to  help their kids identify the spiritual gifts that are present and exercise them in their families and the church.  This seminar takes place in grades 9-10; parents are shown how to discuss a Biblical worldview using Faith Talks and God Sightings with their kids.   
  • Church Event:  There is no church event for this milestone, because it is meant to be done solely within the context of family.
  • Family Event: Parents are encouraged to create their own event for their children that clearly communicates that the young person is not a man or woman.  This would be similar to a bar mitzvah or bat mitzvah for Jewish boys or girls.
Milestone 6- High School Graduation.   In this milestone, the church seeks to equip parents to lead discussions about God's plan for their children to be disciple-makers as the prepare for post-high school life.  Parents are taught how to defend their faith that they may pass those skills to their children.
  • Core Competencies: Defending my faith, God's plan for my life, dating, marriage, life skills
  • Champion: The champion here is the student ministry team, specifically, the youth minister or a small group leader takes on this role within the church, the family and the students.  Parents are encouraged to continue Faith Talks and God Sightings, and for seniors, a specific set of lessons is taught on Sunday mornings.  Their parents are taught the same material in their own small group context. 
  • Parent Seminar: "Preparing My Child to Leave Home"- This seminar equips parents to both encourage and deal with the hard questions of faith that their kids are dealing with.  It teaches them to use Scripture as their "true north" so that their kids can confidently defend their beliefs.  Additionally, parents are encouraged to be in real relationship with their kids, this culminates in a parental "blessing" ceremony.
  • Church Event: The church event is a "Senior Summit"- This event includes a meal and times of reflection, thanksgiving and blessing.  During the parent seminar, parents were encouraged to write a blessing for their children; at the senior summit, this blessing is given to their children.  These young men and women leave this night knowing with confidence that their parents are proud of them and excited about the future.
  • Family Event: "Blessing"
 
Questions?  Concerns?  Possible solutions?

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Family Ministry- A Model- Milestones 3 & 4



Part 1


Part 2


Part 3- Milestones 1 & 2


Milestone 3- Preparing for Adolescence.  "This stage of development requires parents to rethink how they connect with their children relationally to lead them spiritually....Understanding our identity in Christ answers two questions that are important for every person to answer: Who am I--and whose am I?"  The church comes alongside parents to help them lead these Faith Talks and God Sightings at home. 
  • Core Competencies: Identity in Christ, spiritual growth, spiritual disciplines
  • Champion:  The champion for this milestone is the children's ministry team in conjunction with the student ministry team.  The focus is on Faith Talks, God Sightings and resources to equip parents.
  • Parent Seminar:  This seminar takes place before age 9; while that seems (and is) young, the foundation for identity in Christ must be set early because the challenge to maintain that identity in light of our cultures sexualization.  Here, parents learn how to help their children navigate physical change, identity and sex issues. 
  • Church Event:  Each year, Brian's church has a 24-hour retreat for fourth and fifth grade students that specifically deal with one of the core competencies for this milestone.  In the time leading up to this retreat, the childrens ministry focuses on spiritual disciplines, identity and spiritual growth.  Sexual purity is NOT addressed, but parents are resource for a family/parent getaway to specifically address it.
  • Family Event: This is a Road Trip that has been carefully planned by the parents to celebrate the transition into adolescence.  The Faith Talks and God Sightings that precede this lay the foundation for the event.  

Milestone 4- Commitment to Purity.   "Purity for life is a foreign concept in mainstream culture.  Without a foundational moral source like the Bible, young people face a chaotic number of relational options.  But God has a clear plan for life, relationships, marriage and sex."  .  The ages between 7-13 are when many children growing up in a Christian home will make a commitment to Christ.  What does this look like?
  • Core Competencies: Biblical purity, healthy relationships, identity in Christ
  • Champion: The champion here is the student ministry team, specifically, the youth minister or a small group leader takes on this role within the church, the family and the students.  They "ensure that integration is occurring between the youth ministry experience at church and the parents' spiritual direction at home."  Curriculum, events, and programming is intentionally chosen to reflect the competencies and parents are sourced for Faith Talks and God Sightings
  • Parent Seminar: This seminar takes place at the beginning of a students' 6th grade year, and Brian has mature high school seniors share about the realities of a sexualized culture with parents.  A number of resources are made available to parents, with the key being parents encouraged to keep the lines of communication open about this topic. 
  • Church Event: The church event is a Commitment to Purity weekend.  A representative from a local crisis pregnancy center might be brought in on Friday to share the experiences of that person and organization.  "The youth ministry and pregnancy help center can only reiterate the principles parents have been teaching for months."  Saturday is a discussion-based event about identity in Christ, friendships, accountability and wide variety of other similar topics discussed.  Sunday worship is a celebration of purity and commitment.
  • Family Event: The family gives their son or daughter a purity ring as a symbol of their commitment.
Again, we are at the "gee...this looks perfect."   I've said it before, and I will say it again: parents need to step it up.  But, the church must be there to help them step it up.  In Exodus 17, Moses' arms grew tired, Aaron and Hur held them up.  Here is the honest truth, the church as a whole has, for too long, taken the place of parents in spiritual development.  There are a ton of reasons for this, some legitimate, most are not.  I love parents, and want to equip them, but, this must be a church-wide effort. 






"Parents must be pursuing spiritual growth and exercising spiritual disciplines as an outpouring of their identity in Christ to influence their children to do the same.  This is why a strong adult Christian education ministry is so important."  If the adult education process in a church is not clearly focused on making disciples and equipping the Body of Christ to make disciples above all other things, a student and children's ministry will be limited, and severely so.  


Hard question: How can we lovingly come alongside parents to teach and equip them, knowing that some might not want to disciple their kids?


Questions?  Concerns?  Possible solutions?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Family Ministry- A Model- Milestones 1 & 2

 
Part 1

Part 2

Reminder, a milestone is a "marker of progression on the spiritual formation journey." With that in mind...


Milestone 1- The Birth of a Baby.  Brian Haynes writes "Christian parents are naturally compelled to dedicate their newborn children to God.  The act of dedication is actually a commitment on the parents' part to raise their children in the ways of the Lord." 
  • Core Competency: The parent as the primary faith influencer.
  • Champion:  The champion for this milestone is the children's ministry team, specifically, those over the preschool area.  This person works to build relationships with new (or repeating parents), and this should begin long before birth.  In the midst of relationship building, they prepare parents for the church event and faith training at home.
  • Parent Seminar:  Where Brian serves, this is a required 2-hour seminar, and it is all about creating the understanding of parents as primary faith influencer.  Parents learn the big picture (all seven milestones) and the church clearly communicates how they will partner and equip the parents. 
  • Church Event:  Once the parents have attended the seminar, they schedule the baby dedication for a time when the whole church can celebrate.  Those gathered serve as witnesses and take their stand with the parents and new born.
 Milestone 2- Faith Commitment.  The ages between 7-13 are when many children growing up in a Christian home will make a commitment to Christ.  What does this look like?
  • Core Competency: Jesus, faith, the Bible, sin, repentance, salvation
  • Champion: The champion here is the children's ministry team, specifically the ministry team leader.  This person equips parents so that they can engage their kids with Faith Talks and God Sightings.  The church teaches these things in both children's ministry and adult ministry contexts.
  • Parent Seminar: Brian offers this twice per year, with the focus on leading Faith Talks and God Sightings in the home  It's not a checklist; it is about have real conversations in the midst of life.  
  • Church Event: For Eastview, this would be immersion, and might take place in our building, at camp, on a service project (we've baptised students in all 3 environments).  
  • Family Event: The family holds a spiritual birthday party in their home, family, church members (especially their champions) are present.  
These two are the foundations for a solid, practical family ministry model.   And, for the church filled with "church kids", looks pretty simple.  But...


Are the adults and parents living out an authentic relationship with Christ?  
This teaching fall squarely on church leadership to clearly communicate, and then expect, people who call themselves followers of Christ, to provide opportunities for people to minister and be edified as those followers of Christ.  The teaching needs to include the biblical mandate for their role in the family.  To start, the church leadership, at all levels, must embrace and live out the model if they are to pass it down to the rest of the body.  When asked about this at KidMin in October, Brian stated that landing this among the leadership, creating the vision and implementation, took at least 18 months from start to finish.  There was a 4-6 month teaching process for their leadership team.  Like everything else in life, this will take patience and time.

What about kids coming from an un-churched family? 
If the above is tough, this is the real tough nut to crack.  Once the church leadership families are living this out, their role is to partner with kids from these "non-traditional families" and, in some ways take ownership of this situation.  The church cannot sit idly by and watch kids fall through the cracks.  All the while, these families should be developing relationships with parents and families as a "big-picture" church ministry effort.  And this will be a long and arduous path that churches must decide on the front end that they will walk. 

How do we deal with the brokenness, the mess of ministry that will be created by the above?
By living out the Gospel...love, mercy, grace, trust, faith, hope, service and equipping and being equipped for ministry.  It will take effort, coin and time.  It will take the church being the Body of Christ.  Ephesians 5:1-2 says this- "Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God."  In short, it will take everything that we have, which requires the church leadership to lead from the front.

Questions?  Concerns?  Possible solutions? 







Thursday, November 17, 2011

Family Ministry- A Model, Part 2- Milestones



Part 1

What follows is a specific plan for the implementation of a family-ministry model created by Brian Haynes at his church in Texas.  It is not THE model, but A possible one.  No doubt, there are questions, thoughts, concerns, comments and observations to be made; this series of posts is designed to promote thought and curiosity in how a similar model might be created where you worship.  What this series is not designed to do is to convince parents of their role as primary faith influencers for their families.  I've done that ad naseum on previous posts (here, and here).  Parents...it's on you.  Let's talk "How?"

Picking up where we left off yesterday, let's talk about Milestones.  A Milestone is a "marker of progression on the spiritual formation journey."  When these markers are reached, there is a celebration, both in the church and the home.  Brian writes, "As parents, (we) needed a simple step-by-step approach to becoming the primary faith influences for our daughters.  Even more so, we needed the church to partner with us in the spiritual development of our children--not to take our place as the primary faith influencers, but to train us and to reinforce what we're teaching our children."  Enter Milestones as the progression:

Milestone 1- The Birth of a Baby

Milestone 2- Faith Commitment

Milestone 3- Preparing for Adolescence

Milestone 4- Commitment to Purity

Milestone 5- Passage to Adulthood

Milestone 6- High School Graduation

Milestone 7- Life in Christ

Chances are, your church is already doing something within the context of the above things.  Perhaps your church celebrates birth through a baby dedication or sprinkles infants.  Maybe your youth ministry has an event that culminates with a purity ring being given.  Certainly, you celebrate when high school student graduate.  Moving toward a model like the one above begins with a review of what milestones (we call them transitions at Eastview) you are already doing and then thinking about what they might look like at another level.  Over the next week, I will detail what each of the above milestones looks like, and how they might be applied within my specific context.  I'd love for your thoughts and feedback, ministry is not to be done alone!

So...what methods does your church use now to celebrate or observe life transitions?

Tomorrow: Milestones 1 & 2.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Family Ministry- A Model, Part 1




To summarize anything that has ever been said on this site, Christians are to evangelize the lost.  This happens best when people are not only equipped by the leaders of the church through practical ministry opportunities to serve, love and worship God, but when they engage in those ministy opportunities.  Essentially, there are two parts that we are necessarily called to: equipping and doing.  A church that merely equips yet does not act is guilty of the sin of omission (not doing what you know you ought) and the church that merely acts without the motivation of Christ is in danger of the the sin of commission in that they might point to false fruit as evidence of an inner working of Christ-why?  The lack of a Holy Spirit presence means that it's not worth doing. 

The family, is a key vehicle through which this happens.  The family is bigger than "just" people with kids, because God's family includes each and every follower of Christ, married, single, divorced, young, old, those with disabilities, those marginalized in society...God's family includes everyone.   So...what might a holistic "family ministry" look like?  I am a huge fan of Brian Haynes and his Legacy/Milestones Path.  I read his book in 2010, and attended all of his sessions at the recent KidMin Conference in Chicago last month.

Over the next week and a half, I will use his book Shift: What it Takes to Finally Reach Families Today to methodically describe the model I'd begin with (and contextualize for the specific ministry situation) if I had the opportunity.  Here's the caveat the Brian himself makes at the front of the book: the specifics laid out were done with his situation and context in mind.  As I read his book last year, I was filled with questions, real legitimate ones that need to be asked.  And now, my caveat...this is not and would not be easy to implement.  Without the Holy Spirit working in the hearts and minds of the church leadership, it won't happen.  What's needed at the front end is a Champion, and that must be Christ as the Head.  So, to begin, let's define Brian's terms:

Milestones: They are "markers of progression on the spiritual formation journey" (there are 7 milestones).

Core Competencies: "Key truths learned as progression from one milestone to the next."

Faith Talks: "Intentional times set aside each week for conversation based on Scripture."

God Sightings: "Informal opportunities to discuss God and His Work around us."

Church Events: "Equipping opportunities for parents, families, adults and kids, as well as milestone celebrations."

Parent Summit Conference: "Twice a year events hosted by the church to encourage and motivate parents and adults."

Parent Seminars: "Seminars related specifically to the 7 milestones."

Family Celebrations: "At-home celebrations for milestones."

Take-Home Sunday: "We teach people in adult Bible study groups a specific skill related to leading children through the milestones."

Generational Team: "Aligns the children, youth and adult ministries along a common path of spiritual formation that links faith and home and develops ways to equip parents as primary faith influencers."

Well, there you have it.  If you're like me, you've now got a million questions.
"What about kids from families that don't go to my (or any) church?" 
"How do we implement this?"
"Where do I start?"

Next Post: Listing the 7 Milestones.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Family Ministry, part 3- Roots

What is "family ministry"? 

Since I am a Christian, I will defer to God's Word (aka-The Bible) for some tips. 

Point 1- Parents have a primary faith influence (even if they are absent), either positively or negatively.  They leave a legacy whether they like it or not.

A brief overview of the first few books of the Bible will show us that things are passed down from parent to child. 
  • Cain likely learned about bitterness and anger from his parents, Adam and Eve.  No doubt, they spent many a day arguing and blaming one another about their former residence: the Garden of Eden.
  • Noah's sons learned to build an altar from him after the Flood.
  • Abram tried to pass his wife Sarai off as his sister, which would later be repeated by his son Isaac.
Point 2- This spiritual legacy is God's plan.
  • Deuteronomy 6:6-9- "Write these commandments that I've given you today on your hearts. Get them inside of you and then get them inside your children. Talk about them wherever you are, sitting at home or walking in the street; talk about them from the time you get up in the morning to when you fall into bed at night. Tie them on your hands and foreheads as a reminder; inscribe them on the doorposts of your homes and on your city gates.
    • Understanding this verse is ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL.  There are two types of conversations commanded here: informal and formal (More on this tomorrow).
  • Psalm 78:5-8- "He planted a witness in Jacob, set his Word firmly in Israel, Then commanded our parents to teach it to their children So the next generation would know, and all the generations to come—Know the truth and tell the stories so their children can trust in God, Never forget the works of God but keep his commands to the letter. Heaven forbid they should be like their parents, bullheaded and bad, A fickle and faithless bunch who never stayed true to God."
    • Notice the word "COMMANDED".
  • Proverbs 22:6- "Point your kids in the right direction—when they're old they won't be lost."
    • This implies consistent effort and engagement by parents.  
  • Ephesians 6:4- "Fathers, don't exasperate your children by coming down hard on them. Take them by the hand and lead them in the way of the Master."

So, here you go:

Parents, you are leaving a legacy.
You are called to do so.

Here are two questions worth asking:

"What kind of legacy will you leave?"

"What does it mean for how a church practices ministry if the church and family are to partner together to make disciples through spiritual formation?"

Join the conversation!  Leave comments, questions and concerns below.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Family ministry, part 2- Initial Thoughts

Part 1, here.

"Family Ministry" is the current buzz-phrase in the youth ministry circles that I run in.  Over the past few months, I've seen all sorts of churches looking to hire people, their job titles range from "Youth and Family Pastor" to "Director of Family Ministry".  But, a closer look at the actual job descriptions reveals a different story altogether; at best, it's all about the tweaking of existing programming to be more "family friendly" and at worst, they are simply looking to maintain the status-quo.

A friend of mine, in the midst of the job search process, confirms my observations.  He would ask them about steps taken to merge worship opportunities, he was met with resistance because adults liked being able to drop their kids off so that they could focus during the service.  He would talk about families serving together and those interviewing him would tell him that serving together sounded great, but that was something they were thinking about in the future.  In the end, for many churches, "family ministry" looks like parent handouts, a meeting every so-often, and weekly communication (guilty, guilty, and guilty).  Generally speaking, we don't spend a lot on time thinking about how we might integrate and unite families in ministry.  We don't think about the implications of sending kids to "their own worship" on a Sunday morning.  There are too many questions, the model too untried and ill-defined to dig deeply. 

Last week, I posted an introduction to this current series of posts on family ministry. This requires us to think differently, to think outside our box.  If a church goes to a family-ministry model, and promotes it, that church needs to think in advance about what it might be like for the various people in their midst... the single mom or dad with three kids...the empty-nesters...the unmarried college student or career-person.  In essence, the word "family" will need to be defined within the context of the family of God. 

Love to hear your thoughts:

How would you define "family ministry"?
Do you feel that your church is "family-friendly"?  How?
What are some possible (positive or negative) implications of building a church model around families?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Family Ministry, part 1






This past weekend, our family was blessed to attend Group Publishing's "KidMin 2011" Children's Ministry Conference.  Anne and I helped in "The Shelter"- their prayer room, our boys helped out before and after the main sessions, and our daughter helped out with a band's merchandising table on Saturday night.

I also attended all of the sessions that Brian Haynes led; it was solely focused on family ministry.  Over the next few weeks, I'll post some thoughts about the sessions, his philosophy of ministry, and some ways that we might equip parents to lead their families. 

Here are some introductory thoughts right out of my notes from his first session:

Theological premise/foundation for family ministry?
-There is a generational training plan in place
-Parents and families must intentionally integrate faith into daily life
    -They do this by modeling spiritual service and evangelism

All disciples of Jesus are given the mandate to make disciples as the church.  The family has a distinct role to play.
  -Deuteronomy 6- community-wide and around my table, by the way that we live- church oversees the family by equipping them.

Family of origin has the most influential impact on the lives of kids.
   -Deuteronomy 6 to Psalm 78 to Proverbs 22:6 to Ephesians 6:4

Parents have a primary faith influence, either positively or negatively (even if absent).  They leave a legacy whether they like it or not.  They abdicated their role to us and we called them to us and told them that discipleship happened at the church.  Now, faith takes place in a certain building, in a certain place, on a certain day, at a certain time. This is called "compartmentalization."

What does this mean for how we practice ministry if the church and family are to partner together to make disciples through spiritual formation?  How are we to "do" ministry?

Help me write this blog!  Please post your thoughts, comments, questions, and your PUSH BACK below. 



For more detailed information about who Brian is, what he does, and a lot of specifics, Brian has a website where he lays his model out at Legacymilestones.com.  Brian also blogs about his journey at his blog http://legacyblog.org/.  I know that he'd love for you to check it out and connect with him.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Lies, Lies, Lies




We are surrounded by lies and deceit.  At least that's what the Bible tells us:

"For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places"-Ephesians 6:12.

We are taking our entire year's worth of youth group in both middle school and high school to talk about the lies and deceits that we hear, accept and then make decisions based on.  All of these lies are ruinous to us, and we need to do two things: 1-recognize them as lies, and 2-make decision to seek the truth.

Here is the list of lies that we'll be covering in one way or another this year:

1. God is not enough
2. God is not really involved in my life
3. God should fix my problems
4. God is just like my father
5. Everything that happens is spiritual warfare
6. Iʼve never been exposed to Satanic activities
7. Beautiful people are worth more
8. I have to perform to be loved
9. I need a boyfriend/girlfriend
10.Itʼs ok to go out with a non-Christian
11.Itʼs not really sex
12.I canʼt handle the loneliness of being alone
13.Itʼs ok to be one person at home and a different person with others, especially online
14.If I just had friends, I wouldnʼt be lonely
15.Iʼm my own authority
16.My youth pastor is my connection with God
17.Everyone at church is judging me
18.Of course Iʼm a Christian, I...
19.I canʼt overcome sin
20.In certain situations itʼs ok to break the law or rules if Iʼm not hurting myself or others
21.The benefits of constant media usage outweigh the harms
22.Itʼs not a waste of time, even if it is, itʼs ok...
23.Having a successful career is more important that just being a mother or father
24.What I do now doesnʼt affect the future

Please let us know how we might come alongside and encourage you!


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

On Mexico




Over the past 5+ years, we've given our high school students the opportunity to join us in San Luis Potosi, Mexico for 2 weeks every other Summer.  The purpose of this trip is to work with a church there for their annual Summer Vacation Bible School.  Each Summer, they outreach into the neighborhood around the church and 300+ show up.  Since 1998, I've been there 9 times, and their ministry has grown.  They now have 3 additional VBS locations in and around San Luis Potosi, and probably minister to close to 450 people over a several week period.  We are blessed to go and be a part of what they do.

We are in the earliest of preparation for next years' trip.  Over the next few weeks, I will be meeting with some of our ministry team members to begin the conversation about the trip.  Here is what we'll be talking about:
  • Why should they go?  
    • they will grow deeply in their walk with God as the serve Him and other people
    • they will see that we are surrounded by a culture of materialism and selfishness
    • they will grow close to one another and the leaders as they serve together
    • they will have the opportunity to put their faith into action in a real, tangible way
  • Who can go?  This trip is for high school students and up.  As in the past, there will be an expectation set for those that are going.  This trip is about service to God and service to other people.  There are times on this trip where those going are outside of their comfort zones.  there will be times when each person on the trip will not get what they want.  They will experience these things when it comes to:
    • the food they eat
    • the cold shower they take
    • the floor that they sleep on
    • the language that they cannot understand
    • the poverty that they will see
    • the closeness of the group
    • the lack of privacy and "down-time"
  • When is the trip?  At this point, their Summer VBS is being scheduled in early-July of 2012.
  • What kind of expectations will we have?  It's important to understand up front that this trip is a privilege.  While any of our high school students may desire to join this trip, it may not be for all of them.  One of the things that we try to do before the trip is prepare those going for the stretching of comfort zones.  We schedule pre-trip meetings to put our students and adults into situations that will be similar to the trip so we can see how we respond and react to one another under stress.  It's our goal to become a bonded group BEFORE the trip so that we can focus our energies on serving others and God.  Students and adults that are not interested in being prepared for the trip will not be allowed to participate.  
  • What will the trip cost?  Our 2010 trip was around $1000 per person.  This included meals, lodging, transportation, everything but spending money.   In 2010, we offered a scholarship of $175, students had to write a book report and write fundraising letters.  Our Spaghetti Dinner/Dessert Auction is an easy way to raise funds for this trip.  
  • What about safety?  This topic is one among many that we cover in our pre-trip sessions.  Safety is why:
    • we tell our students to stay in groups
    • we tell our students to stay where they are if they get separated
    • we tell our students not to draw attention to themselves
    • we tell our students to be aware of their surroundings
    • we tell our students not to buy illegal items 
    • we stay in a secure facility, with locked doors
  • Safety, part 2.  We do our very best to take no unnecessary risks. An unnecessary risk would be allowing students to wander the market alone.  An unnecessary risk would be allowing our students to walk to the corner store without someone from the youth home with them. 
    • On our 2008 trip, we had a student get separated from the rest of the group.  Instead of following instructions and remaining where she was, she went out in search for the group.  This was the worst 45 minutes of both of our lives as we frantically looked for this student.  Thankfully, she was found by another one of our groups.
    • It's why we spend time with those that express interest in going on the trip and reserve the right to deny anyone (whether student, parent or adult) the privilege of attending this trip.  
    • If someone has trouble listening to instructions on a Sunday night, then they will most likely have trouble following instructions in Mexico. 
  • Safety, part 3.  The Mexican government is at war with the drug cartels.  The drug cartels are at war with one another.  Innocent bystanders and civilians have been caught up in this violence.  I neither can, nor will, say with 100% certainty that nothing will happen while we are in Mexico.  As the leaders of the trip, it is important that we share the reality of this trip and we want to partner with you as we plan.  As a parent, it is important that you understand what we are doing and why we are going, as well as have some honest conversation with your students about this trip.  
What's next?
  • In the coming weeks, I will meet with our student ministry team and we will start some long-term planning.  If you would like to be a part of that, please let me know.
  • By mid-November, we will schedule two initial meetings (only attendance at one is necessary) with parents and students to discuss the trip and the process for application.  These meetings will be a great place and time for questions, comments and concerns to be addressed.
In the meantime, please join us in praying for this trip, and the impact on lives that it will have!

Friday, September 2, 2011

A little about us, part 3- Youth Group

Sunday School

D-Group

And now...Youth Group.  What is it?  Why have it?

For the last 40 years or so, Youth Groups have been a huge part of churches and their programming geared toward kids.  When I was growing up back in the 80's (Dated?), each Sunday night you;d find me hanging out with the youth group of First Presbyterian Church in Peachtree City, Georgia.  We met each week in the homes of other kids; each week was in a different place.  We'd gather for some food, some fun, and a youth group lesson, usually 15-20 minutes in length.  The favorite topic?  Sex, of course.  I remember that the week before "sex night" (that just doesn't sound right!!) we were handed small pieces of paper, a pen, and encouraged to write down our questions, ANY questions that we had and the following week, our poor youth minister got up in from of the group and answered them. 

Guys like Steve Rembert, Thom McArthur, Martin Huggins were awesome; they loved us, put up with our antics, and taught us what it was like to follow Jesus each Sunday night and on trips all over the place.

Our "youth group" has two parts:
  • Our middle school youth group meets on Wednesday nights from 6-8pm.  We have a meal, do a group activity, have a group lesson, and then split into small groups for some deeper discussion.  It takes a special kind of adult to work with middle school kids; they have high energy, lots of questions, and are really coming into their own, developing their identity.  We love middle school kids at Eastview.
  • Our high school youth group meets on Sunday nights from 5:45-8pm.  We have a meal, do a group activity, have a group lesson, and then split into small groups for some deeper discussion.  High school kids are at the point in their lives where they are asking big questions and dealing with big issues; they are wrestling with who they are.  I love the depth of our high school kids at Eastview.
This year, in both middle school and high school youth groups, we'll be talking about the lies that surround them, are told to and about them, are told by them, that they fall for and believe, and then act on.  Lies like:
  • God could never love me.
  • I need a boyfriend/girlfriend.
  • The music I listen to, and the movies I watch don't affect me.
  • It's not really sex.
Each day, kids in our youth group struggle with and fall for these lies.  Satan is the great deceiver, we actually believe that and this year, we will be confronting our students with the truth of the gospel, and most importantly, with the Truth that is Jesus Christ.

Our youth group is designed to be a great place where kids can feel welcome to bring friends and have some good honest conversation about the God that loves them.  This is called "community" and we see in the Bible that Christians are called to it.  We want to talk about with them what Christianity looks like and what it means to be a follower and disciple of Christ.  We are looking forward to starting up next Wednesday (for middle school) and Sunday the 18th for high school!!





Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A little about us, part 2- D-Group

This is Part 2 of "A little about us" a series designed to tell parents the how's and why's of the youth ministry event schedule during the school year.  Part 1 was about Sunday School.  Let's talk about D-Group!

D-Group got its start in November of 2005, I had just come to Eastview, and on Sunday nights, I'd meet with 3-5 students and we would discuss questions like:
  • When you hear the word "Christian", what comes to mind?
  • Describe a time when God has worked in your life/
  • What is worship?
These questions (and about 12-15 others) were written on a little legal pad on my desk  (still have the original pad!).  We would talk about the question, look up verses, discuss, argue, laugh...it was very casual and laid back.  Those that came loved it.  Over the years, as more kids wanted to join, it morphed into a Sunday night study, 2 hours long.  We read books together, talked about deeper theological discussions, pushed, and grew.  And then, when we split our group into two (ms & hs) in 2008, it went away.

Well...now it's back.  Beginning Sunday, September 18, from 4-5:30 (before HS youth group), we will be reading, studying and discussing the book Radical by David Platt.  A few things that parents and students need to know about D-Group:
  • Those attending will get out of it what they put into it.  
  • Students are expected to read a chapter per week and memorize Scripture.
  • Students are expected to have read the material and be ready to discuss it.
  • Students who choose to skip reading or preparation will at some point be asked to stop coming.  Why?  Because we are reading a book together and for those that don't read the book, attendance would be somewhat pointless.  Also, for the kids that are doing the work, they tend to get frustrated with those that do not.
  • The cost of the book and material is $15/student.
  • D-Group is for kids that want to be challenged and stretched in their faith in an environment that is designed and organized around that single goal.  We have fun, but it's not "let's play a game fun."  It's fun because we have time to go deep.
Students need to sign up by September 10 so I can order their books! 

As always, we'd love your feedback!  Please comment below or shoot me an email  I'd love to hear from you!

Friday, August 26, 2011

A little about us, part 1- Sunday School

We have three specific weekly "programs", Sunday School, D-Group, and Youth Group.  For each of these three things, there is a specific purpose and intent.  They are also very different because they must be, we have different kids attend each of these things, and each of them cannot do the same thing.  There are time constraints (SS is only an hour versus 1.5 or 2 hours for youth group), transportation concerns, a whole host of things.  By that rationale, if your students "only" attends 1 of our 3 programming pieces, understand that they might be missing something.  This post begins a several-part series that will give you some insight into what we do in our Eastview Christian Church Student Ministry "department" and, why we do it.  At the end of this series (by the end of next week), I will post an action plan detailing each of these programming events so you can look at them, and determine how you might, or might not, encourage your kids to attend. 

Today's post deals with that old standby, Sunday School.

As an institution, Sunday School dates way back in church history to about 1751.  Yep, it's only about 260 years old. 

At Eastview, the Sunday School hour is from 8:45-9:45am, each Sunday (duh).   Because many of the students that attend Sunday School come with their parents, our goal is to give them a "more than basic" understanding of the Bible.  In our Sunday School hour, we spend our time reading the Bible and discussing the Bible.  That's it.  Not food beforehand, no games, no small groups, just conversation and discussion about the Bible, what it says, how we might interpret it, and what it means.  Currently, we are talking about how we got "here" (today) from "there" (when the events of the Bible took place).  We want our students to see how God's Word was written with the intent of intentionality and purpose, and most importantly, how it coheres (relates) to itself.  When we are done with that, we will talk about early Church history, how the Bible was put together, the Protestant Reformation...all sort of fun things.  We began this back in March, and will probably take a few years to get through.  Our Sunday School class is "open", this means that parents and other adults are welcome to join us and participate.  We'd love to have you join us!

There it is...an overview of Sunday School; when you think Sunday School, think Bible.  It's not that we don't use the Bible in D-group or Youth Group...we do.  But Sunday School is intentionally designed to talk specifically about the Bible.  If your student only attends Youth Group, they will likely NOT have the depth of Bible understanding (unless they are taught at home or elsewhere) that a student who attends Sunday School would.

And that is why we'd love for your student to come to Sunday School with us.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Upcoming Dates

We've tried to be as comprehensive as possible so that you  (and we) can plan our calendars and our budgets.  I've also included event costs where possible.   Here are the dates of a number of things coming up...please read this CAREFULLY! 

While our Mexico mission trip is listed below, there will be a separate post later in the week, addressing not only the two biggest questions that a parent will have about that trip: safety and cost, but also on our expectations for those that desire to join us.  I'll keep you informed!

August 26 (5:30-10pm), August 27 (8:30am-4pm)
  • Student Ministry Team Retreat
    • This is for all members of our student ministry team, as well as parents and other interested adults.   
Wednesday, September 7
  • E-KLUB/Middle School Youth Group starts
    • 6-8pm
 Sunday, September 18
  • High School Youth Group starts
    • 5:45-8pm
Friday, September 16-Sunday, September 18
  • All-Church Retreat at North East Iowa Christian Service Camp
    • For all: students, parents, members, non-members 
Sunday, October 16
  • Eastview Harvest Party
    • Following Sunday services
    • Zieser home, Center Point
    • All are invited
Monday, October 31
  • Trunk or Treat at Eastview Christian Church
    •   6-8pm
Thursday, November 3 - Sunday, November 6
  • "The Event" at Ozark Christian College
    • This is our annual mid-year high school trip to visit a Christian College; it's a mini-conference, college visit and relationship-builder rolled into one event.  
    • Cost will be $90/student; this covers all event registration, food, lodging, and transportation. 
    • $30 deposit and registration form (available soon) due by Sunday, October 16.
Wednesday, November 16
  • Thanksgiving Celebration at Eastview
    • 6-8pm
December, Christmas event- Date and Times to be announced

Saturday, February 11, 2012
  • Spaghetti Dinner/Dessert Auction/Talent Show
    • Because of this HUGE fundraiser, we can help kids get to camp, events like CIY: Believe and everything else that we do.  
    • Speaking of CIY: Believe...
Thursday February 17 - Sunday, February 19
  • CIY: Believe is our annual mid-year middle school trip, and they won't want to miss it.
  • We're going back to St Louis for an amazing time of worship, great speakers that share with middle school students in mind and some solid relationship-building between our students and adults.  
  • Cost will be in the $150 range, which covers event registration, hotel lodging, food, fun...everything!  
Early July, 2012
  • Mexico Mission Trip to San Luis Potosi, Mexico
    • While this trip is open to any of those entering high school and above for the 2012-2013 school year, it is not for everyone.  We will have several informational meetings in November (you just need to attend one) to discuss this trip, the issues and, expectations surrounding it, in detail
    • Assist with several different Vacation Bible Schools in and around the city of San Luis Potosi, Mexico.
    • Trip cost in 2010 was $1000/participant.  While we will make every effort to maintain this level, transportation cost is the largest variable.  
Summer Camp Dates, 2012 (all costs were the 2011 early-bird camp year cost, and subject to change)

June 10-15:     Middle School Camp #1      $155

June 17-23:     High School Camp #2          $185

June 24- 27:    3rd, 4th, 5th Grade Camp      $125

June 29-30:     2nd, 3rd Grade Camp            $35
 
July 8-13:        Middle School Camp #2       $155

July 15-19:     4th, 5th Grade Camp              $125


July 22-28:      High School Camp #2           $185

Please contact me either by phone (319) 393-9570 or email (jmulholland@eastview.net) with thoughts, questions or concerns.  We are looking forward to another excellent year!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Trip update

Heads up...we made it to Omaha tonight.  Leaving 7am-ish, and will be home between noon and 1pm.  Be sure to look for updates in the AM.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Colorado Week of Hope, post 1

We started our first day of work today;we were split into several different groups. There'd are 44 total kids and adults here.

John and Larissa are on team one, our project is at a place called Respite Care. It is a care facility for special needs kids, they go there during the week so that they can receive additional care that their families cannot provide. Today, we took the kids to a water park in Ft Collins and played in the water with them. There were two girls in their mid-twenties from the facility along. I talked to them over lunch, they are Christians and are serving God there. They eventually want to go to Haiti and work with special needs kids there. I'll be posting More about their story over at my personal blog. Jenai is in group 2, and at the same place.

Heidi is in group 3, she went to a place called Waverly School. It is a school for troubled kids. Their project today was yard work: picked up sticks and dug up fence posts. Theres a total of 7 such facilities, but only 2 people to help at all 7.

Brianna went to Hearts and Horses, a therapeutic facility for special needs kids, they get to be with and ride horses. Today, they swept and cleaned out, and mucked the paddocks. Basically, they had a poop war.

Breanna is in group 8, they went to the Boys/Girls Club. They hung out and played with kids, board games, kick ball and went to art class. A kid offered to glue his project to her face. Ships declined.

Nate is in group 7, and they went to Elderhaus, an adult daycare facility. They took the adults to a rec center and played ping pong, pool and bowling. Nathan was beaten by a man sitting in a walker. He was surprised by the mans quickness. Apparently, he was a ping pong wizard.

Sarah and Tyler are in group 4, and they went to the Courtyard Nursing Home. they hung out with the residents, playing bingo, rummy, sorry and excercised with them. This included basketball and horseshoes. Tyler claims that the exercises were awesome. Sarah enjoyed talking with the residents.

All of the groups had lunch at their respective places, and dishes were wa(r)shed. Each of the kids has been assigned a specific task within their groups. Larissa and Heidi are organizers for their groups, Breanna and Jenai are the break makers, Tyler and Brianna are devotion leaders, Nathan is the quartermaster and part-time devotional dictator.

More to come...



Sarah and

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Colorado, so far

What an amazing trip.  Thursday night, we stopped in North Platte, Nebraska for the night at a campground.  We baptized Tyler Wright in the lake.  It was a cool thing to see happen.  Our kids clapped and angels rejoiced.  We sat up late into the night around a fire talking, until the mosquitos showed up en masse.  Then, the wind started to blow.  From 1130-330 am the wind howled and howled.  Nate, Tyler and I were outside, so at least there weren't mosquitos to fight with.  Then the wind died and they were back.  It was brutal!!

Woke up Friday morning, packed all of our stuff and then left for Longmont Colorado.  We arrived around 1230 and went to the church to meet our host.  Then, it was off to Group Publishing for a tour and some face time with the team behind our service project this week, Week of Hope. Back to Longmont, a few games of Twister, 5 Guys Burgers and Fries for dinner, and of course, a trip to Wal-Mart.  More Twister, Phase 10, and then an early bedtime of 945pm.

Today, we are heading out to the Poudre River for rafting.  As soon as I find a more robust internet connection, I'll get some photos up.  In the meantime, just follow the Twitter feed for some photos.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Homeward's Weekly Culture Brief: 7/8/11

Great resource for parents, see more info here

iTunes Top 10 Downloaded Songs - 7/8/11
   1. Party Rock Anthem - LMFAO
   2. Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.) - Katy Perry
   3. Give Me Everything - Pitbull
   4. Rolling in the Deep - Adele
   5. Good Life - OneRepublic
   6. Super Bass - Nicki Minaj
   7. Tonight Tonight - Hot Chelle Rae
   8. How to Live - Lil Wayne
   9. Dirt Road Anthem - Jason Aldean
  10. The Edge of Glory - Lady GaGa
Source: Apple iTunes

Top 5 Most Viewed Videos on YouTube - Week Ending - 7/8/11
   1. Katy Perry - Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)
   2. Shakira - Rabiosa (English Version)
   3. Rihanna - Man Down
   4. Chris Brown - Next to You
   5. Britney Spears - I Wanna Go
Source: YouTube 

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Eastview Student Ministries Mid-Summer Update

It's been a great Summer, this is a great time to tell you a little about what's happened and what is coming up:

We took kids to both our middle school and high school weeks of camp at North East Iowa Christian Service Camp.  We also had kids go to 4&5th grade and 5&6th grade camp.  Please visit our church's Facebook page to take a look at pictures of some of the fun!  On the 17th of July in our weekly worship service, we'll be baptizing two of our students that made decisions to follow Jesus at Camp.  Pretty sweet!!

Just 2 weeks from now, we are leaving for Loveland Colorado for our senior high service trip for the Summer.  We're going to get some rafting in, and lots of opportunities to serve people.  It will be a great trip, I know that those going are really looking forward to it.

On August 10-14, we will be having a Vacation Bible School at Eastview.  This is for students e-klub age through middle school.  We'll have a HUGE carnival on Sunday, August 14 after Sunday service, food, inflatables, it will be a great time.  Come and see what the fun's all about!
We are asking that parents help as they are able, and if your high school student would like to help, please have them contact me ASAP.  We'll be handing out flyers on August 3rd, and having registration at Eastview and possibly one other location on Saturday, August 6th.  I'll have more details out shortly.


Fall 2011

We will be starting our regular programming for e-klub and middle school on Wednesday, September 7 at 6pm.  Our high school youth group starts on Sunday, September 11, 2011 at 5:30pm.

We're bringing D-Group back.  What is D-Group?  D-Group was and is an intentional, straight-up discipleship/bible study/deeper-learning time.  In the past, we've read books together, gone through workbooks, etc, and the expectation for this group is that if a student joins, they will participate in the study.  This is NOT youth group, while we have fun, we don't play games or anything like that.  We have, and will talk about challenging stuff, and I hope that many of our students will join.  D-Group will be on Sunday afternoons, from 4-5:15pm.  While this is open to ALL middle school and high school students, in the past, some of our students were overwhelmed by the expectations.  I'd encourage all of our students to at least come to our first D-Group session on September 11, at 4pm.


Our annual All-Church Retreat is scheduled for September 16-18 at North East Iowa Christian Service Camp.  We hope that you will join us for this event.

A Little Later:

Our yearly visit to a Bible College is scheduled for November 3-6.  This year, we'll be visiting Ozark Christian College in Joplin Missouri.  We'll have more details out in early September.  High school students only.

Our annual Spaghetti Dinner/Dessert Auction/Talent Show will be scheduled in mid-February.  This is our huge fundraiser for the year.  The money raised helps keep our event costs low, and provides money for our scholarship fund.  


CIY:Believe for our middle school students will be sometime at the end of February, 2012.  Dates have yet to be announced, but we'll let you know ASAP.

Summer 2012


Summer camps for all age groups, specifics out late-2011, early 2012.

Mexico Mission Trip for high school students.  Each year we alternate between either a Summer conference/service project and our Mexico Mission Trip.  2012 is the Mexico year.  I've already been in contact with the mission that we support there to get some feedback about a trip next Summer.  While we will schedule a meeting in November that will have more details on this trip, it's important that you and your students be thinking and praying about this trip NOW. 

The two biggest concerns for this trip have traditionally been money and safety.

First, money.  Our 2010 trip cost was approximately $1000, but many students took advantage of our scholarship, sent support letters, etc and received money from our Spaghetti Dinner fundraiser. 


Second, safety.  There are obvious safety concerns in going oversees, and Mexico can indeed be dangerous.  There are a number of steps that we take to ensure the safety of the group, and that's one of the reasons we begin planning this trip a year in advance, so that you, the parent, can make the most informed decision that you can. 

The abilities, maturity and willingness of our students to listen is important; while
any high school student is welcome to apply for this trip, it's not for those that lack maturity or a willingness to serve. Because of this, we meet with each person being considered for this trip and we will have a very specific pre-trip process and a post-trip debrief for those going.

Please contact John Mulholland with any questions!!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

2 Upcoming Fundraising Opportunities

There are 2 chances to raise money for our Summer Camp season:
  1. This Saturday, April 16.  Camp clean-up day at North East Iowa Christian Service Camp.  We'll be leaving Eastview at 7am and returning by 6pm.  Lunch provided.  Students can earn $70 to apply to a Summer activity.
  2. Saturday, May 7th.  We'll be having a clean-up day at Eastview Christian Church.  We've got all sorts of projects planned, so come prepared to work.  We'll start at 9am and be done at 4pm, again, lunch will be provided.  Students will earn $10/hour in credit to be applied to a Summer activity.
A note: since these events are fundraisers, we fully expect students to work hard.  While we will have fun, the purpose is to clean and earn money.  Students that do not work, or have to be told 82 million times to work, will not be paid and we will call you to come and get them.  Please communicate this to your students!!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Identity: The Office, Lady Gaga and Jesus

Thought I’d send out a quick note about our current Sunday night lesson series called “The Gospel According to The Office”.

We’ve covered a lot of ground and a ton of topics.  Basically, our format has been like this:

  1. Last week’s theme was “conviction” and we asked the kids to be on the look out for incidents in the show that people either were convicted of the wrong that they had done, or tried to convict others.
  2. We watched an episode called “The Chump” in which Michael realized that he was dating a married woman and did not care.  The people in the office spent the episode trying to get him to see that he was wrong using a variety of methods.
  3. We talked about conviction as found in the Bible, using Genesis 3:1-12, Exodus 13:20 and Deuteronomy 17 and 1 Samuel 8 as examples of God’s conviction and leading.
  4. We also read Romans 1 and talked about how God is evident but people ignore what He’s done because of their own wickedness.
  5. We ended with a challenge to hear God’s conviction and in small groups we had some further discussion and prayer time.
I’m sending this to you because this week, we are talking about the theme of “Identity”.  We’ll be using the Office episode entitled “The Fire” as well as Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” and finally a video I made called “I am new”.  Each of these videos deals with the theme of “who we are” in a different way.  Our point is that “Who We Are” in Christ is our most important identity. Some may be hesitant for us to use Gaga’s video, and while I understand that, please know a few things about this song:
  • the first week that this song was released, it was downloaded 1.2 million times on iTunes, the fastest ever
  • if your student has an iPod, they most likely have Lady Gaga on it, probably, this song is there
  • we are determined to help our students discern, understand and see culture in the light of the Gospel of Jesus
I’d encourage you to take a look at what other Christians have said about this song, video, and it’s importance in our ministries to students.

http://learningmylines.blogspot.com/2011/02/lady-gaga-born-this-way-voice-of.html
http://www.pluggedin.com/music/tracks/2011/ladygaga-bornthisway.aspx
http://networkedblogs.com/ejjta

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

CIY: Believe 2011 Recap

If I were asked to describe CIY: Believe in just one word...that word would be "awesome". 

Friday
We left Eastview on Friday morning shortly after 10am.  The girls rode with Kathy (one of our middle school youth leaders) in our van, and the boys rode in Big Purple (our church van) with Steve (one of our middle school youth leaders) and myself.  The drive was as you'd expect, loud!   We stopped for lunch at the Denny's in the bustling city of Wayland, Missouri.  We had a run-in with the local sheriff's deputies there, they told us the difference between a "shiv" and a "shank", which fascinated the boys. 


After, we finished our drive to Family Arena, in St Charles Missouri.  We registered, and picked up another one of our female youth leaders, my daughter Katie.  Went to the hotel and got checked in and had quick dinner before going back to the Family Arena for the night.  We picked out our group's t-shirts, and then enjoyed a night filled with worship, comedy and a great speaker, talking about the life of Esther, in the Old Testament.

Saturday
We woke up at a reasonable time, had breakfast at the hotel, and then to the Family Arena for the morning, more worship, an illusionist and a speaker, taking us deeper into the life of Esther.  Lunch was sandwiches at the hotel, and then back to Family Arena for a few more sessions.  The event was over about 4pm, and then we went to the Incredible Pizza Company for dinner and video games.  IT was a great night of food and hanging out as a group.  After around 3 hours, we returned to the hotel for a debrief of the weekend and more time with our group.  Lights out was around 11:30.


Sunday
After waking up and having breakfast, we went to Harvester Christian Church for their morning service and left St Charles by 10:45.  We stopped at Hardees for lunch in Hannibal and were in the parking lot a little after 4pm.

Here's what happened on a deeper level:

The kids were exposed to a lot of LOUD music that honored Jesus. 
By the end of the weekend, they actually liked "Christian" music.
They were in an environment of more that 3000 others, so for those that love Jesus, they are not alone.
The kids laughed at the jokes and thought the illusionist was cool.
The speaker told the story of a girl who lived for God regardless of the fact that her parents were not involved in her life.  In fact, they were dead.
The kids made some great relationships with one another.
The kids built great relationships with the adult youth leaders.

Thanks to CIY: Believe for putting on an awesome event!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Cancelled!

Middle school group and E-KLUB Children's Ministry are canceled for tomorrow night.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

And...we're off!

Our new semester has started and we're off with a bang.  Our middle school group is hearing the story of God, we're teaching the Bible from a different perspective, one story at a time, building on the previous week's story.  So far, we've covered Creation and the Fall of Man, next up if the story of the first murder, starring Cain and Abel.

In our high school group, we started our "Gospel According to the Office" series and this past Sunday we had a great discussion about judgment and self-righteousness.  Up next, we'll be taking about the role of denial, reality, and excuse-making in our relationship with God.  It's going to be great.

We've got more kids than ever and covet your prayers.

Also, forms for the Colorado trip (high school) are due Sunday, and CIY: Believe forms are due next Wednesday.  We've got a lot of things going on besides our normal youth group schedule, and we'd love for your kids to join us!  As always, contact us with questions!