Tag Archives: Sunday School

2014 Year In Review

497606412_640Last year, these were my 2014 ministry goals.  Each year, I’m thankful for the opportunity to serve the Lord in such a wonderful ministry, church, and community.  Here’s how things played out this year, and maybe these ideas will help spark ideas for you new year.

  • “Bible Doing” – Bible Studies are great, but so is “Bible Doing”. During our local mission trip we held a Bible study that put our Bible lessons in action. Grade: A
  • Wedding & Funeral Message Outlines/Scripts – This took a great deal of prep work and discipline to sit down and write wedding scripts and funeral scripts even when I didn’t have any weddings or funerals to perform. But God knew…I had the privilege of officiating my first wedding, and had the honor of doing my grandmother’s funeral. Grade: A
  • Music Training Class – This class in still in the planning process. However, God supplied a new student praise band of 6 members.   This student-led band was a huge answer to prayer. Grade: Incomplete
  • Junior High Mission Trip – We held a mission project at the apartments right next door to the church. We helped landscape and clean up areas surrounding the apartments. It was a huge success building relationships with neighbors, and some even visited the church the following Sunday! Grade: A
  • Community Project – This project was combined with the Mission Trip described above. Grade: A
  • Host “Ask Your Leaders” Night – This night was a true blessing. Teens asked both informal and in-depth spiritual questions. Examples included questions about dating, afterlife, creation, and much more. Grade: B. Not every student was prepared with a question. I could have done better in allowing to think about questions for a longer period of time than just a few days
  • Sunday School Rehab – High School Sunday School has made some positive changes to teaching structure and discussion. And a Junior High Sunday School started this year!! Grade: A
  • Equip Parents/Families – Spiritual Growth Planning with several families, and expansion of Parent Training in Parent Meetings. Grade: B-. I still need to improve here. The meetings are my strength, but the informal discussions and meeting with parents outside of church walls needs to improve.
  • Continue Inter-generational and Discipleship Ministry– Young at Heart Lunch & Service, Combined Adult/Teen Service Projects. Grade: B+. Always room for improvement here, but was pleased with the progress.
  • Outreach – Easter Egg Hunt, Teen Outreach Events, & Better Visitor Discipleship/Follow-up. Grade: C. Sure there was great outreach with events and those that attend the church, but what about on the school campuses. Please pray I will have more opportunities to go on campus to share Christ.

2014 G.P.A. – 3.38.

Didn’t make the honor roll this year. Still have room for improvement. But I will say this, God truly blessed. I was able to perform a wedding for my sister-in-law, honor my grandmother in her homegoing, be part of two teens accepting Christ, serve alongside teens in numerous service projects in the church and community, and saw some incredible growth in teens and their parents. Thank you Lord for all you did in 2014. To God be the glory.

 

 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

7 Lessons from my Mission Trip to Nicaragua

God’s Peace. When you are doing something that brings glory to the Father, He will give you the peace you need. Leaving your family and kids for a week is not easy. Leaving your wife and kids for a week to leave out of the country is a whole new level. I’ll be honest, it was a struggle to say goodbye as my little girls gave me their final hugs to their daddy. But, as soon as I entered the airport terminal, and immediate feeling of peace and security overwhelmed my spirit. God gave me His peace right when I needed it.

Sometimes Things Get Dirty. The low-light of my trip taught me a great lesson. I was having so much fun playing soccer with the kids after our gospel kid’s program. One of the kids kicked the ball to me, and as I attempted to head it into the “goal” (two tree branches in the ground), my back foot slipped out from under me and I landed head first in a huge mud puddle. I was covered in mud from head to toe. But it was in that moment that God taught me. The pastor’s son began to take off his shirt to give to me to wear…a young man, who I later saw wearing that same shirt (probably one of the few he owned) was willing to give up something for me, whom he just met. Talk about being humbled.  Not because I was full of mud, but by this young man’s willingness to give.  Lesson learned. Be willing to give, even when you have little to give.

Gratefulness. No running water for 4 days. Houses made of plastic and tin metal. Toilets flushed with a bucket. House walkways covered in trash ankle-deep. Kids abused and neglected. If I can’t have gratefulness after this experience…shame on me. And shame on me for any covetousness I will have for the rest of my life.

Significance of the Program. In America, a puppet program may be boring or even weird for the kids. After all, it’s tough to compete with Pixar, Dreamworks, and Sesame Street. But where we were, these kids had very little. It made our program more significant. Not because we wanted to the focus of the attention, but because we wanted to bring these kids something very special. It really put things in perspective.1966743_10152986984257345_1638882985323562529_n

Minister Like a Mission Trip. Oftentimes we go all out for mission trips and pour our hearts into these trips. There is no reason this should not happen here. Do I have the same passion for the kids in VBS, AWANA, and Sunday School? I hope so. But reality is, there are times when I become complacent. Lord, help me ministry everyday with a passion for sharing Jesus and his love with kids, in Central America, in Africa, and in America.

God’s Grace. When you see little kids bringing their toddler siblings to these programs, often feeding them with a bottle and putting them to sleep, you can’t help but see God’s grace. I saw God’s grace in how a little girl brought her twin baby brothers to a feeding center and the little boys did not make a peep. I saw God’s grace in a 5-year-old boy who brought a one year old to the children’s center and never heard the little girl cry. “Let the little children come to me”…well, I saw this happen right in front of me. I saw how God allowed these children to come, by His grace.

Be in the Moment. If I was transparent, there were times where I could have mailed it in, and just taken a rest from a full trip. One such moment was after teaching an adult Sunday school class in a small rural church. Instead, a little girl caught the corner of my eye. She was three, and as cute as could be. I reached my hands out during the final songs of the service, and she jumped in my arms. Her grandmother in front of me, with a big smile on her face. I asked where her mother was, and I recognized the Spanish word that came next…muerta. Her mother was dead, and the grandmother was taking care of her, and 3 other siblings. My heart broke as I held this little girl in my arms. If I would have mailed it in, I would have missed these hugs, I would have missed this story, I would have missed the opportunity to tell the grandmother I would be praying for her. Lord, help me be in the moment more in my life. I don’t want to miss these moments.

Thank you for all your prayers this past week. God truly blessed, and my life will never be the same. I’ve always said that mission trips are life-changing. And after this trip, I’ll say it with an even louder voice.

 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Youth Ministry Goals 2014

Here are some specific and practical goals for the coming year that God has placed on my heart.  Looking forward to what God will do with these things…

1.       “Bible Doing” – We know what a Bible Study is, but what about a “Bible Doing”.  It is taking a passage of Scripture and going out and doing it!  (Idea taken from book “Love Does”)

2.       Wedding & Funeral Message Outlines/Scripts – This is something that has been on my mental list for some time.  Now it is time to get this together.

3.       Music Training Class – With my guitar player graduating this year, I look at my youth group and see very little musical ability.  Singing maybe, but not instrumental.  Part of my responsibility is to train our young people in ministry…well this may need to start in elementary, so they are ready to play in the praise band in junior high or high school.

4.       Junior High Mission Trip – Local trip where junior high students can participate.  Evaluate whether this can continue from year to year.

5.       Community Project – Connect with neighborhoods and communities, find needs and do what we can as a church to meet those needs.

6.       Host “Ask Your Leaders” Night – Provide a night where students can ask those questions on their mind, address doubts, and converse about questions that may not come up in regular discussions.

7.       Sunday School Rehab – Conduct Sunday school in a way that promotes the gifts of the teacher; evaluate forming a junior high Sunday school

8.       Equip Parents/Families – Continue/Broaden Spiritual Growth Planning, Parent Seminar/Meetings, other Parent training opportunities

9.       Continue Inter-generational and Discipleship Ministry– Find ways where generations can minister to each other, promote mentoring/discipleship

10.   Outreach – Continue to improve outreach which includes:  better visitor follow-up, Community Easter Egg Hunt, and promotion of outreach events.2014-goals

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Who Was the 1st Mentor?

god-touches-adam1 Who was the first mentor in the Bible?  Answer:  God.  Yeah, the Sunday school answer would have won the contest.  It’s true.  If there was ever a mentor that we should model, it would be God.  And the very first discipleship process is found in the Garden of Eden.  So how was God a mentor to Adam, and what did He do in the discipleship process?

1.     Spiritual Guidance – Genesis 2:16-17

It didn’t take long for Adam to receive spiritual guidance from his mentor.  They are pretty clear instructions – don’t eat from this tree.  Let that be a lesson to you in your discipleship process.  Be clear in your spiritual guidance, and help those you are mentoring to not make the common adolescent mistakes.  Impart wisdom and guide their decisions.  Should I go to this party?  Is it OK to date _____?  Help them!

Your job as a mentor is to help that young person make decisions.  Partner with parents and help them on the right path, help them use the Bible as their roadmap, guide them in godly decisions.

2.     Help Solve Problems – Genesis 2:18

God saw it was a problem that Adam was alone, and He fixed it.  He provided a helper for him.  Sure, we are not God, and we cannot solve all the problems of our young generation, no matter how much we would like this to be the case…but we can still help.

Help students find solutions to their problems.  Listen, suicide is the second leading cause of deaths in teenagers.  It is the fourth leading cause of death  in ages 5-15!  We need to help them find solutions, because they are finding the wrong answers all too often. Answers can be found in God’s Word.  Some have parents that will lead them to those right answers, others do not.  Let’s do our part as mentors, and help students solve their problems with God’s Word and prayer.

3.     Give them responsibility – Genesis 2:20

Our motto this year in our student ministry is “Student Takeover”.  My goal is to have students take over multiple ministries.  Sure, it will start small with things like:  announcements and running PowerPoint.  But so far it has evolved into leading prayer groups & small groups, or leading the praise band.  We have even taken it to the point of having the students plan and execute an entire Sunday Night youth group by themselves.  How cool is that!  They are learning ministry.  What’s next in the takeover?  Planning and executing a Community Easter Egg Hunt.  Do I help?  I try not to as much as I can.  You may think that is cruel.  I think it is empowering, teaching, and mentoring!

Keep finding ways to plug students into ministry. Let me give you an example.  There was a 9th grader who was somewhat shy.  So, did I make him be the “announcement guy” or lead a Bible study?  No.  I saw his gifts were in technology and computers.  I talked to his parents and mentioned the idea of getting him plugged into the sound/multimedia team at church and in youth group.  Now he runs PowerPoint for the main service and helps with sound on special events.  How cool is that?  He’s serving!

Sometimes all it takes is recognizing a student’s abilities or gifts, and plugging them in a service opportunity.  God gave Adam the task of naming the animals.  Well, that’s already been done, so find something for the teenager or child you are mentoring to do for God!

Who can you mentor today?

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,