Tag Archives: church family

5 Lessons Learned From a Local Mission Trip

Earlier this month, I had the privilege of leading a group of students on a mission trip.  We didn’t need plane tickets, or even a full tank of gas for that matter.  It was a mission trip in our very own city.  Our student ministry takes short-term mission trips very seriously.  But missionaries don’t just live in foreign countries, but also reside locally as well.  So each year, we try to give the students a different perspective of missions.  Here’s what I learned from this year’s local trip:

  1. Train for the 100m AND the marathon. Runners have to train for running short distances as well as long distances.  They have to eat right, train, lift weights, and stretch for each race.  Same with mission trips.  Just because it is a local trip, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have training.  Use the time you have with your students for unity building, leadership training, discipleship, and evangelism training.  You might be surprised how much the training will benefit a trip that is at your church or down the road.
  2. Don’t Miss What Is Right In Front of You. If a local trip is going to accomplish one thing, hopefully it increases the love for your community.  This is something I really saw in the students as we they went out and did puppet shows, and did some painting projects.  They really enjoyed serving and caring for their community.  A great benefit of local trips.
  3. Expectations Blown. I set some expectations for the students each day of what I wanted to accomplish, and they blew those expectations out of the water.  It was good to set a bar to reach, but when the students jump over that bar, it’s oh so sweet.
  4. Follow-up. Something I am learning I need to do is to make sure I follow-up more efficiently.  Sometimes I give an assignment like an email…it’s sent, check it off the list.  I need to make sure I give out assignments and tasks (delegation and leadership training is a healthy thing), but also follow up with those tasks.  I’m a work in progress.
  5. Make the connection. We did some projects for our children’s ministry this week.  We did puppet shows to help promote VBS, and we painted rooms in our children’s wing.  Why?  Because we wanted to love our community, but we also wanted our students to grow in their love for THEIR church.  I want them to WANT to invite others to church, to be proud of how they are part of the church, and a growing love for their church family.  I think this “trip” only added to those goals.

What about you?  Have you done any local trips lately?  What have you done, and what did you learn?  Would love to hear the good, the bad, and the blessings.

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Lessons Learned From Tragedy

Recently, tragedy struck our church. A young man died serving our country, and protecting our freedom. His parents lead music at our church, and are the kindest and most giving people. But my goal in writing today is not another rendition of “when bad things happen to good people”.  These are lessons I’ve learned specifically this week when life gets hard.wrongful-death-lawfuel

Importance of Church Family. This cannot be stressed enough. Honestly, I have no idea how people get through hard times without a loving and caring church community. Our church has acted like a family through this. While the immediately family is suffering, so is the church family, but it is the church family that can provide unlimited support through cards, calls, meals, prayers, and encouragement.

New Understanding of Grace. While God’s mercies are certainly new every morning, His grace is sufficient. These two phrases have come to mind on numerous occasions this week. These truths need to be held dear during hard times. Lean on God’s grace and mercy, and know that even in the tears of the night, you will wake up to theses blessed promises in the morning.

Power of Prayer. If you have ever experienced a tragedy like this in your personal life, you may have experienced the power of prayer. You can actually feel the prayers being lifted on your behalf. The burden is lighter because it is being carried by loving brothers and sisters of Christ.

Renewed Appreciation of Salvation. I John 5:13 says we can know for sure we have eternal life. In these times when a believer is taken from us tragically, your appreciation for salvation goes through the roof. Knowing for sure that someone trusted in Jesus Christ provides eternal comfort.

God’s Sovereignty. Even though you can never fully explain these events, tragedies, and trials, you can trust in God’s sovereignty. God has a plan, and there will be evidence in the events that follow. God often uses tragedy to build His kingdom, to change lives, to bring us closer, and to provide change. Look no further than when He sent His Son Jesus Christ to the cross…to build His Kingdom, to change lives eternally, to bring us to a saving relationship with the Father, and to provide not just a change in our lives, but a transformation.

It has been said that you trials are always a part of your. You are either leaving a trial, in a trial, or about to enter a trial. God has warned us this life would be full of trouble, but he does not leave us empty-handed. Our Heavenly Father will get us through, and this week was a reminder of the capable hands of the Lord.gods-hands

 

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4 Reasons Why Your Church Should Have an Encouragement Month

At our church, there is only one month where we encourage each other.  So we set aside October each year, and call it Encouragement Month, and get all the encouraging out of the way before the holidays.  Kidding. Kidding.

Encouragement month is where the church family is asked to attend kid & teen extracurricular (sports, band, drama, etc) activities.  The month prior, we ask parents and guardians to turn in their children’s schedules, so we can put together a master calendar of activities.  That calendar is blown up, and displayed in the lobby.  At the display, there are also copies of the schedule to take home.17.-Encourage-sunset

So what’s the point?  Seems like a great deal of organizing, for what purpose?  I’m glad you asked.  Here are 4 reasons why it is worth it, and why your church should consider doing it.

Kids Like Encouragement.  Imagine that.  Kids and teens like to be encouraged.  And let me tell you, when those students have a cheering section from their church, it means the world to them.  Never underestimate attending a ball game, play, or band concert.  All you have to do is sit there, and cheer when appropriate – apparently school plays aren’t the place for the wave.  Who knew?

Bring Generations Together.  I loved hearing stories of older generations attending some of the games or concerts.  When a young person sees the older generation taking interest in them, they begin to see them in a different light.  This small step can help bond the church together tighter, and can go a long way in the unity that churches crave.

A Youth Leader’s Best Friend.  As much as we would like to, it would be difficult for most youth pastors or leaders to be able to attend every student’s activities.  Or, if you are a smaller ministry, you may feel pressure to attend several games of the students you have, but your schedule doesn’t allow it.  Well, committing to attending games in October allows you to make sure a representative from your youth ministry comes to the game, and show that student support and keep the connection to your ministry.  And, for the smaller ministries, it allows you to streamline your schedule more effectively, and keeps you accountable in supporting your students in their extracurricular activities.

Connection to the Schools.  While your main purpose is not to make a connection with the school, it is to encourage the student.  Your attendance does provide an opportunity to meet administration, teachers, and coaches.  This connection could begin to develop into a larger ministry role in the future, when the school administration knows and sees your support.

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