Archive for June, 2008

This past weekend a small group of leaders from the Jr. High ministry at my church went on a retreat to dream big about the future of the ministry.  It was amazing.  There are times that I can get pretty frustrated with planned brainstorming sessions.  It can seem like forced creativity and focus and sometimes the best ideas come from spontaneity. 

But this retreat was amazing.  There were definately times when we got bogged down in the “hows” and not the dreams and times when we veered too far to the “whys” and stopped considering the “why nots”, but overall it was one of the most amazing planning events I’ve ever attended.  Our focus seemed to zero-in with a bit more naturality and less forcefulness than I’ve experienced in the past, and you could really tell that the group of people there love the students and the families in our ministry very much.

I’m pretty jazzed about how we’re going to make our dreams realities in the next few years as we expand on this vision of impacting not only our students, but their families.  I look forward to sharing the journey.


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I’m looking forward to this summer in my youth ministry.  Last summer we did an amazing thing called “Just Add Water” where the students in our ministry raised more than $9,000 to provide clean drinking water, and working showers and toilets for children and their parents in the Mathare slum of Nairobe, Kenya.   But this summer we’re focusing on “Shape-Shifting”:  helping students recognize who God created them to help them learn how to make a kingdom impact.  We’re having several smaller workshop or activitiy times for the students to learn and develop in their spiritual gifts and natural talents and help them discover where and how to use them for kingdom purposes.

Another side benefit of this type of undertaking is that it allows us to recruit leaders on a “trial basis.”  It allows us to give leaders an opportunity to try out the ministry and see if it’s a fit for them without asking a terribly big commitment of them or making them feel overwhelmed.  I’m excited because several of the women from my adult small group are going to help out.  They really have a passion for making sure there are people in the lives of students that they feel they can speak with who will be open, honest, and loving.  I’m glad they’re going to find an outlet to use this passion as well.

I’m also looking forward to this weekend.  This weekend several key leaders in the ministry are going to take a mini retreat to do some dreaming and vision-casting for the future of the ministry.  I hope to have a report on that and my thoughts about it after the retreat.

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When I was younger I never imagined I’d be working with youth on a fairly regular basis.  I grew up wanting to be a college professor, but I knew that would be different than working with teenagers or pre-teens.  I vowed that if I had to I might teach high-school students, but there was no way I was going to work with Jr. High students.  Even when I was in high school I recognized the differences between those of us who were of my generation or older and those who were to be emerging generations after myself.  The attitudes, belief systems, social structures and values of these younger generations were something I didn’t understand and something I didn’t want to understand.  They were different than me and I didn’t want to have anything to do with them.


Now I’m an active youth worker.  I work with a pretty large group (and then smaller groups) of Middle Schoolers on a weekly basis.


And there are very few things that hold a higher priority in my life. 


I’ve never been one to be good with money.  I don’t understand investments all that much, I rarely feel I have enough “extra” to truly save and I live pay-check-to-pay-check.


But I do understand the investment I have in these students and it is this investment that I feel gives my life value and purpose.

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