Wednesday, June 30, 2010

go ahead take a risk...EXPERIMENT

Tonight is our second REMIX UNITED gathering of the summer and our team is stoked about what God might do tonight in our lives. All of you who read this blog know that when it comes to ministry I like mixing it up and trying new things. Summer is an amazing time to work a new plan and experiment with new strategies to connect with teens. We have not figured this all out and we never will that is why we constantly want to be learning and experimenting. The REMIX UNITED experience has paid off in a big way in 2010. It was one "win' for this summer and an experiment that has paid off. We have tried a few other things this summer...some have worked well and some we are still tweaking. If some of what we planned does not fail then we really never took any risks. The bottom line for all of you leading youth ministries out there is to USE SUMMER TO EXPERIMENT! You never know what you might discover.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

laugh, need to laugh!

You need to laugh! I know we ministry/church people are not known for laughter. When you think about church you don't think about laughter but it is so needed in all our churches and ministries! Let's think about this. God made us so God also made laughter. I'm just thinking if God made it and we all love to do it why don't we make it happen more often. (hey married folks that goes for other activities God made also!!!) I watched Last Comic Standing tonight with my wife and sat back for 2 hours and laughed. There is nothing better! Today at the office I got to laugh with the folks on our team. I watched my kids jump on the trampoline with a friend today and had to laugh. (they were in their pajamas!!) Laughter is a big deal and we are trying to more intentional about creating FUNNY moments in all our environments at GCC this coming year. We really think laughter is a big deal if we want to engage the heart of the people who walk through the doors of our church. We also think it is a big deal for our staff and volunteers. When you combine work/serving with having fun you have something special. Go ahead, LAUGH MORE!

Monday, June 28, 2010

time out

My first post since getting back from vacation. Being away from the normal grind helps me to look back and reflect on life, family, ministry, and the future. I cherish vacation time with my family and I wonder why so many leaders out there tend to not use their vacation time. When we skip out on time off we hurt our ministries, our families, and ourselves! Every week God tells us to take a day of rest but I believe with the pace most of us run, time away from work is a big deal if we want to lead with health for the long haul. However many vacation days you have...USE THEM! For what? To hang out with your family...go on a mission trip...get away and do some around the house...take a a boat...It really does not matter as long as you get away from your normal routine. Some of my best family memories have come on vacations both when I was growing up and now as a parent. There is just something amazing about the adventure of getting away with my wife and kids. When I take the time to get away and take a break from the demands of planning, producing, emailing, meeting...I LEARN TO TRUST GOD. Time away forces me to let go for a little while and refocus on what really matters in life and ministry. Make sure you make taking TIME OUT a major priority.

Saturday, June 19, 2010 we come!

Saturday morning and we are about to head out for a week at Surf City, NC. Yea that is where we go every year and we simply love the beach in North Carolina, it is worth the drive! Sure we have all the beach stuff packed but here is what I am bringing so I can fully get my chill on...
  1. lots of Diet Dew (24 oz. bottles of course)
  2. 3 books to read (The Travelers Gift, Parenting Beyond Your Capacity, and Primal)
  3. My ipod touch packed with way too many Andy Stanley leadership podcasts I have missed!
  4. The TENT, I am the guy who loved the tent at the beach so I can READ after I go crazy playing with the girls!
  5. The portable grill // got to be ready to eat good!
  6. flip flops // seriously that is all I have packed!
  7. our Wii // gonna beat the new Mario Brothers!
Looks like I am ready to go! More importantly our family is pumped about hanging out the next few days. We are ready to make some memories!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

speak UP

If you want to be a leader in your organization you have to be willing to speak up! Let me clarify what speaking up looks like. When a major issue confronts your organization you have to be willing to take a risk and put your personal thoughts about the issue there for the rest of your team. You have to be willing to speak up and collaborate with the team. Sure, there is a proper place and time to share your thoughts and timing is so critical when it comes to this process but at some point you have to be willing to give input and accept responsibility for your contribution! I think what keeps many of us from "speaking up" may look like this...
  • what if I am wrong?
  • what if my team rejects my idea?
  • what do I really have to say..."I'm not the expert"
  • what if my opinion does not count and I find out I don't have as much influence as I thought?
  • if I keep my mouth shut I can avoid being responsible for the decision that is about to be made!
Forget all those excuses...WHAT IF YOUR CONTRIBUTION CHANGES THE DIRECTION OF YOUR ORGANIZATION FOR THE BETTER? What you have to contribute may be the missing link your team needs! Will you be willing to speak up and share what you are thinking with the rest of your team or with your supervisor? Speaking up can change a church, youth ministry, restaurant, business, or non-profit for the better. Speaking up will also keep you engaged and passionate about your role in the organization. Nothing kills momentum like apathy! Will you be willing to take the risk and speak up?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

THINK global...

Teens think global. They get that they are a part of a bigger picture. They understand how blessed they are to live in a nation like the United States and they want to be a part of the solution when it comes to addressing global conflict, poverty and injustice. Who better to call this generation to action that those of us who follow Jesus? This summer we are asking Relevant Student Ministry to Think about the difference they can make in one country...Kenya...while helping kids there get an education. Want to know more? Check out this video...make plans to give what you can at REMIX united or use the Text THINK to 50555 plan talked about in this video! We can start a revolution of hope in one country and Relevant Student Ministry is joining the cause this summer. Watch this video and sorry it cuts out some of the video, just double click on the video itself and it will take you to Youtube or click on the graphic above and you can see the video at!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Youth Ministry/Church CONNECTION?

After two amazing weeks at camp with Middle and High School students I am glad to be home. It was great to be back for an amazing Sunday at Grace Community and see the connection our teens have between their camp experience and the Sunday morning experience. Honestly that connection is our greatest strength as a church. Our church experience/mission/direction matches the experience our student have when we take them to camp or go on a retreat or hold a weekly service. Sure the lights may be a little more crazy and sound a little louder but all in all camp and home connect. For years my heart broke as I brought students back to Sunday morning experiences that left teens and leaders wondering why camp was so different than church. The adults eventually drove themselves to believe that what happened at camp was just a "teen" thing. One of the driving reasons we launched our church here in Clarksville was that we believed that there might be a link between the passion we have pushing people toward Christ at camp and what is needed every week in the life of a student or adult. We took a risk and started this thing 5 years ago and guess what...bringing the "camp experience" to every environment has actually made a difference. What we used to could only get away with in the youth service or at camp is a normal experience for us each week!

I am thankful for our teens that there is a synergy between what happens in the youth ministry and every week in the Sunday gathering and community group process. I honestly believe that the best way to reach multiple generations (and we do!) is to listen and consider the heart of a teen or college student when planning our worship gatherings. If you are in a church where the student ministry and the morning worship experience are divided in strategy and direction then process how you can close the gap. If nothing else please find ways to connect the heart of your senior pastor to the lives of your teens. Help your senior leadership connect with the risk needed to engage teens. it might just inspire them to take more risks as they lead and plan.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

RELEVANT bigstuf camp // video update 3

Wow...the final update from bigstuf camp 2010. Looking back on the week it was one of the best we have ever had. Sure the camp was amazing but what really set this week up was the investment made by our small group leaders the entire year at REMIX. Relationships and mentoring set this week up. Our high school students took some amazing NEXT STEPS. We can't wait to see what God does the rest of the summer. We have some amazing things planned. REMIX UNITED is right around the corner!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

RELEVANT bigstuf camp // video update 2

What matters most at a bigstuf camp? We love what the amazing worship experience and speakers but if you ask our team they will tell you having 5 days to connect one on one with students is the most important part of camp. That is 5 days to THINK about Jesus, life, direction, and possibility. 5 days to laugh. 5 days to dream. 5 days to yield ourself to God. All of that is relational...between God and each other. So thankful for these 5 days. Check our our second update! Nate Edmondson did some filming here so there is no telling what might happen.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

RELEVANT bigstuf camp // video update 1

First 2 days here at bigstuf camp have been next level. No, the oil is not here...yes we are blessed to have clean water to swim in...yes our students are having an amazing week. Big props to the bigstuf camp staff...BEST YEAR YET! Here we go! Video update 1, check it out.

LIVE from bigstuf camp this week!

All week I am going to be blogging here from Bigstuf Camp...the most amazing place you can bring a group of high school students for a week! I just want to let you in on what is happening by posting three video updates over the next three days so you can experience what is happening in the lives of our students. What you may see on the video is the incredible experience our students are having! What you will not see are the relational connections happening in small groups. You will also not see what God is doing in the hearts of our students. I can't explain it but there is a sense in my heart that God is going to do some next level things in the hearts of our students this week. We are going to be asking each other to slow down and THINK this week in every worship session, quite time on the beach, and all the small group times. Life is so busy that it pushes us to not THINK about why we are here, who we are, where are we headed? The less we THINK the further we move away from intentionally allowing Jesus to shape our lives! Last night Jared Herd, one of our our speakers, focused on this verse, check it out...

2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:2 (NLT)

That verse lets us know that transformation is a product of changing the way we THINK not embracing guilt over our past failures. If we expect high school students to move in a different move toward the heart of be come more like Christ...then we better help them THINK DIFFERENTLY. What could God do in our lives as we strive to think different? Pray for us the entire week and check in for video updates!

Friday, June 4, 2010

headed to BIGSTUF Camp!

Monday morning at 6:30 AM we head for Bigstuf Camp with high school students from Relevant Student Ministry! My blog has been dominated by camp updates the past week and we are getting ready for more from the beach. Bigstuf is a week where we can get high school students out of their normal routine and take them to the beach for one invest in their lives! We have 4 years with high school students and we want to set them up to spend their life going after the BIG STUFF in life, the stuff that matters and that is what this week is about. We can't wait to see how God works through the relationships that are built, the worship sessions, the teaching, and the alone time these students have with God. Here is where we are headed...yes it is an amazing week!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

RELEVANT middle school camp // day 4 video update

Wow...the end of middle school camp. After 4 hours on a van, a stop at backyard burger, and tons of mountain dew we made it through the final day of camp. It was all worth it...seeing this group of students connect with each other and with God was worth it. Thanks to the parents for letting us invest in your kid for a week. Thanks to our small group leaders for mentoring these students all week. Thanks to Student Life for an amazing partnership again this year. Here is our final video update for middle school camp 2010...big plan for next year to be announced later in the fall!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

RELEVANT middle school camp // day 3 video update

Day three is over and done and we are right in the middle of our final day here at Relevant Middle School Camp. I think the best part of everyday has been watching our small group leaders (Chelsea, Lauren, Nate, and Grant) invest in these students. At the end of the day what matters most in our time with teens is the job we do mentoring them...not just talking about Jesus but living it out with them. Camp gives us that chance to be preset for a week in a kids life. The investment pays off! Here is the day 3 update...