Monthly Archives: December 2016

10 Ways Christmas is Different as an Adult

  1. The energy level from a new toy or video game system lasted all day as a kid.  Now after the rush of Christmas morning, by dinner time it felt like 2 am, I just ran a marathon, and a bus hit me while I were crossing the finish line.
  2. Your Christmas list was toys, games, and fun stuff…now it is programmable thermostats to save money in the winter, socks, and a waterproof vest…and the funny thing is, you are just as excited!
  3. It used to take a week to play or enjoy all the presents…now I look for a box that I can fit my presents in and I’m all set.
  4. I cannot think of one Christmas dinner I had growing up…but this Hickory Honey Ham presentation with Hawaiian rolls, loaded mashed potatoes, carrot casserole, and a chilled IBC root beer will not be soon forgotten.
  5. Matching jammies with my family as a child would be thoroughly resisted in every way…but as a grown up it’s hilarious, fun, and great for pictures.
  6. Opening presents was just the best…now opening your own presents can get in the way of watching your kids open theirs.
  7. When you were a kid it was fun to make Christmas lists…now it takes me all year to compile things I want (it’s true, I keep a notes list on my phone – the programmable thermostat held the #1 spot since summer).
  8. What happened to me? I went from “Merry Christmas ya filthy animal” to where I couldn’t wait to watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” and allow my eyes to well up…it’s only a matter of time till the tears start rollin in.
  9. I don’t remember when I stopped believing in Santa Claus, but I know I won’t forget when my kids have that experience!
  10. One thing will never change with my age, I still am thankful for the reason for the Season and love to sing Happy Birthday to Jesus with my kids…The Hope that Christ brought me as a kid is the hope I still hold on to today.

15697298_10157887449565246_5706098247670253993_nHoping you and your family had a Merry Christmas and have a Happy New Year!

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2016 Goals Revisited

In January of this year, I posted my ministry goals for 2016.  When you make goals, it’s a balance of faith, attainability, and measurability.  Let’s take a look and see what God did this year…shutterstock_407994838-800x400

  1. Short Term Mission Trip – Mission trips are a part of our ministry every summer in a cycle of local, out-of-state, international, and work trips. This way, the 4 year high school experience will allow for various types of mission work. This year a trip to New York is in the works.  Grade:  A.  What a tremendous trip.  Click here for the recap.
  2. Inter-generational Ministry Continued Improvement – A tech class for seniors, service projects combined with adult small groups, guest speakers, mentoring initiatives, and integrated mission projects.  Grade:  B.  There is still room for improvement, and that will be reflected in the 2017 goals, but we did host the tech class for seniors, involve adults in combined service projects, and the mentoring initiatives are starting to grow.
  3. Better Timing – Each year I look at my schedule and there is always at least one “why did I schedule that there?”.   This year I want to make a more conscious effort in the timing of events and programs. Team with parents in working out better schedules. Not all conflicts can be avoided, but why not adjust the schedule if it can be.  Grade:  B+.  For the most part, this was much better this year.  I was very strategic in providing rest for leaders, including student leaders, at key times.  Events were pretty well spaced out for maximum impact and family time.
  4. Family Series – I have been trying to find more ways to gather the family together in a youth ministry context. This year, I plan to teach a small series on the family with the entire family.  Grade:  B.  We did it, but it was not as well attended as I had hoped.  It’s difficult when parents are serving in other ministries (not a bad thing) or various other reasons…but the series went well and was well-received.
  5. Co-Mission Event – Continue the annual co-mission, which is a mission conference for students. This year, there may be some changes to enhance and improve the evangelism training for the students.  Grade:  A.  There were several adults and leaders that mentioned this was one of the best Co-Mission events we have had.  We made some practical changes and resulted in a challenging, but encouraging training for the students.
  6. Series on Fear – I read recently teens have a wide array of fears. Fear is often what keeps them from doing right and what tempts them to do wrong. Fear takes them places they don’t want to go and holds them hostage when they want to leave. Fear is something we need to talk about.  Grade:  A.  I tweaked this a little and did a “Fear Factor” event instead and used it as a platform to discuss their fear.  This event was one of the highlights of the year for sure. 
  7. Winter Retreat – In the past, the winter has been difficult to draw up enough interest for a retreat. Part of it is timing with winter sports, weather, and life. But this year we hope will be different having a younger group.  Grade:  A-.   Not greatly attended due to sports conflicts, but overall was a valuable that provided spiritual growth and group unity.
  8. Service – Each year we place a heavy emphasis on service and provide ample opportunity to serve in the church and in the community. This year is no different with continuous plugging in of students in church life and a community/church service project scheduled every month.  Grade:  A.  God blessed us to be able to participate in a service project every month again this year.  That truly is a staple in our youth ministry and the benefits are too numerous to count.
  9. Global Emphasis – With the World in Need month continuing this year, we plan to place an emphasis on the issue of poverty across the world. We hope to encourage the students to not only pray but be a world-changer and do something about global poverty.  Grade:  A.  Whenever you can expand the worldview of a student and raise awareness of poverty, it’s hard not to look at it positively. 
  10. Apprenticeships – Along with having a youth intern this year, I want to encourage the student leaders to seek out mentoring opportunities. These will be called apprenticeships within the student leadership team, but outside the group it is simply the older students helping the younger students with life. Mentoring needs to happen both up and down…being mentored, and mentoring others.  Grade:  A.  What a great experience.  I was blessed to have an incredible intern who was eager to learn and dive into ministry.  I strongly encourage others to consider having an intern work alongside you at some point in the year.
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