That’s All Folks!

Five weeks, just like that, gone. I can’t believe how fast the time has gone by.

thatsallfolks

Exactly 6 weeks ago, the Senior Minister, Brian Bolton, took a 2 week vacation with a 3 week sabbatical and left our team of elders, staff, and ministry leaders. It has now been one week since his return (Lord of the Rings style).

 

Throughout these five weeks I have had different responsibilities alongside my usual Youth Ministry duties.

Each week I hosted, led communion, and offering to maintain constancy (people got a lot of Kyle).

A few things I noticed…I was never looking at the same faces each week. We had very few people who felt that they needed to confess, receive prayer, or accept Christ (seems like most people don’t).

One week I took calls while our administrative assistant was out of the office. There are some weird people out there (who most definitely need Jesus).

I ran one event by myself (never done that before).

Created a video for each week that connected Brian to the congregation (more or less, so it wasn’t so awkward when he got back).

Cool, right?

I mean now life goes on as usual, back into the youth ministry flow. Especially, forgetting to put stuff away, playing Rockband, eating at every youth event, and occasional blog post.

After some time to process, there was a lot of good that came out of Brian’s break. Some of those things are:

1) We have an eldership that is committed to reaching people and furthering God’s kingdom. We tweaked service and focused on highlighting what the speaker challenged us to do in our church.

2) I was able to experience things in ministry that I most likely would not have happened.

3) Our church has started to wake up and really connect with the Spirit. The past couple weeks, from my perception, second service has been packed.

4) Our church was able to be challenged by mature Christians outside of our current body.

I am excited for what is coming this fall! I anticipate big things on the horizon for CenterPointe as long as we continue to remain faithful, preach & teach the Gospel, challenge each other to grow, and love unconditionally.

Oh yeah, Senior Ministers take Sabbaticals!!

 

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

CrookOne of the best relationships within the church that keeps it heading in the same direction and healthy is the staff/elder relationship, specifically that of the youth minister and the elders. I have been very blessed because I have a great relationship with many of my elders. Elders are responsible for oversight and prayer in our church. In many church contexts the youth ministry and the elders butt heads largely because the Youth Minister asks for forgiveness instead of permission. Ultimately, there is a disconnect between the vision and mission of the youth ministry and that of the church. I have found that you neither have to ask forgiveness or permission if you maintain three principles and allow the elders to fulfill their responsibility in all areas of the church.

Communication: Every good partnership/relationship is needs a constant line of communication. Ministry isn’t any different. When clear and proper communication about events, programs, and outreach isn’t communicated goals, values, and intentions are assumed, rather than stated. When communication of goals and values are communicated the relationship will most likely strengthen. For example, without communication the elders may get upset at the Youth Minister for creating a giant mud hole on the property, painting a room, or losing office space.

Quarterly Meeting: All businesses do this and provide quarterly reports. Why shouldn’t the church? This procedure creates accountability and allows every event, outreach, program to connect specifically back to the mission of the church. This falls under the overseer umbrella in the responsibilities of the elder. This also holds me as youth minister accountable. This encourages efficient use of time in all areas of ministry–everything is done for a specific purpose that corresponds to the mission, vision, values, and goals of the church.

Prayer: Whether it is vision casting, event planning, making a change, or tough conversation let the elders do their job and pray about it and over it. Invite the elders into your ministry by asking them to pray for specific areas within your ministry. This encourages responsibility, which allows and creates time for tough decisions along with wise decisions to be made. When faced with the choice of change, knowing that the elders have prayed about direction is an insight that cannot be taken for granted, whether they reach the same conclusion or not. Prayerfully considering choices and changes allow for the Spirit to work and create unity.

Timothy is appointing elders at approximately twenty-three years old in the church of Ephesus. I find this remarkable. Timothy was a young man discipled by Paul, and yet he had the spiritual maturity to be able to identify those who would best shepherd, teach, and pray for the church. The relationships between a young man and those whom he was appointing is inspiring. Without reading too much between the lines, the accounts in Acts and Paul’s written letters (1 Tim. & 2 Tim) encourage a good working relationship between the evangelism, teaching, oversight, shepherding, and praying of the church.

MOVE & MIX Recap

Christ In Youth (CIY) is an organization that is very close to my heart. I attended my first CIY MOVE at Milligan College in 2008. That week hooked me forever. I was challenged in my faith unlike anything I had ever experienced before and grew together with other believers and friends. Year after year I continued to attend MOVE at Anderson. In 2009, my life had fallen apart and at MOVE I was able to heal and experience a peace that I still carry with me to this day. My final year at MOVE, in 2010, my life changed. At that conference in Anderson, Indiana God called me into ministry. This meant that iI had to leave my scholarship at Ohio State and my career as a lawyer. God even confirmed this calling through a Kingdom Worker card.

Flash forward two years later…Summer 2012. I was now interning for the very company that God had used to change my life. I was humbled and in awe. All the  different emotions came back form my years as a High School student, while I worked for them as a Backstage Manager. Needless to say, it was one of the best summers of my life from a whole different perspective. Now, I was in a position to see how my life was changed and God allowed me to be part of a program that was changing lives that whole summer. Serving speakers, Production Managers, Worship Leaders, Youth Ministers, and Directors allowed me to meet people who directly influenced my walk with God. I was giving back. After many weeks on tour, God blessed me with an opportunity to share my story with 800 High School students from stage as part of the Forgiveness Panel.

One summer later…now a Youth Minister at Centerpointe Christian Church. I was able to take my first youth group of six along with my wife to their first CIY MOVE at Johnson University. This experience was unlike the other two, nevertheless it was incredible! Being a student you feel all the emotion and soak everything in. As an Intern/Event Staff, you are constantly pouring out and serving. As a Youth Leader my mindset was totally different. Small group and youth group time were now a priority. You were now responsible to spiritually leading and guiding after the emotional experiences, that the programming orchestrated. When a student didn’t respond, you noticed. When a student needed that extra push, you were the one to do it. The responsibility was magnified immensely.

The theme for the week was RISE UP. All week students dove into the life and story of Joseph. They were encouraged to see the story that God was mapping out and enter into that story. When going through life, many trials and hardships come. Some are so painful and dark that it seems like you are in a pit with no way out, with no hope of escaping. But, there is one person who can get you out of that pit, of that dark place, and that person is Jesus. No matter if you are in a pit, a prison, or just in the midst life, we are all called to be kingdom workers. When an opportunity presents itself to be different, to help someone else, to share who helped you out of that pit, students were challenged to Rise Up. Leaving a legacy is something we all want to do, but we all do it for different reasons. Will you leave a legacy behind that points to Jesus?

The story of Joseph is about a type of Jesus. Students learned and engaged in this story all week, while being goofy, having fun, staying up late, and worshipping the Most High God. It was a powerful week as a Youth Leader and someone who cares deeply for the students I minister too.

What was even better, was that two weeks later I was able to go through the story again with four Junior High boys at CIY MIX. All the fun of MOVE packed in FOUR days. I got even less sleep. MIX does a great job at characterizing. I mean that literally. They tell the story through characters. This year they used a 1930s Medicine Man road show telling the story of Joseph. What made Joseph so special? He never took the quick fix. I was nervous for this week. I never attended MIX or even thought that Jr. High boys could even be engaged or in touch with emotions and deep concepts. Guess what? I was wrong. They loved the week! They were able to take concepts and ideas and were able to connect them to situations at home and then actually talk about them! Wow! The illustrations all week of filling up their potion bottles really sealed the deal for them. Joseph never filled his potion bottle with the quick fix or the easy way out. He Remembered that God had a plan. He Remained faithful. He allowed God to Heal him and his deep wounds. Joseph rose up and left a Legacy that always pointed to God.

Both weeks were incredible! I loved that my students were able to experience something that changed my life. I hope that it leaves a lasting impact in theirs. The challenge moving forward for them…

Leave a Legacy

Be a Kingdom Worker

Raise $2000 to plant a church in India

Why is Youth Ministry Important? (3/3)

…Because intentional community is vital in the life of a Christian.

The question today is:    Are you surrounded by intentional community?

So what is intentional community and what does it look like in the life of a Christian?

Intentional community can simply be defined as placing or purposefully surrounding yourself with people who build you up, give you biblical guidance, grow in Christ together, and hold you accountable. At the same time, intentional community is surrounding yourself with people who do not know Christ and his ways or spiritually immature, but who you are intentional modeling Christ for.

Community is living in relationship with others. Without community we rely on ourselves. When we rely on ourselves, we are relying on broken machines who are missing an important part. Even those who wouldn’t say they are outgoing still need community because our being exists in community. God is One, but God exists in relationship (Father, Jesus Christ, & Holy Spirit), therefore if we are made in his image, we exist to live in community.

Many times we exist in community, but have no purpose. Our families or homes are a community. We are part of a work community. We are part of a community because of our kids. We are part of a community because we go to school there. We are part of a community because we all play video games together, or sports together, or even show up on Sundays for church together.

Intentional community is having a purpose for being in community. Jesus surrounded himself with 12 disciples, so that he could intentional minister, build up, and mold them. We forget that God has purposefully placed us in every community, so that we can disciple people around us. Being intentional is not always easy because of the trouble it may bring, but Jesus didn’t promise it easy. We exist to show people Jesus’s love, so that they may see the Father’s love, so that they will show others the love of the Father in the communities that they exist in. In essence, we make disciples who make disciples.

Instead of living out intentional lives, we focus on our kids, our jobs, our family, and even our personal interests. Why? We like to exist. We like to be comfortable. It’s too easy to focus on our agenda for the day, rather than God’s plan for our day. Our connection with God doesn’t impact our lives outside of Sunday mornings. It’s too easy to fall into this lifestyle pattern and it’s too hard to change it by ourself.

We need God’s guidance and His Spirit to direct our day.

Why is youth ministry important?

Because if done right, it provides intentional community for students to be built up and sent out with a mindset of discipleship and kingdom work, breaking the pattern of simply existing.

Why is Youth Ministry Important? (2/3)

While growing up I heard a phrase that never sat well with me. Commonly used in various avenues across our country, adults have believed that “our youth our the leaders of tomorrow” or “our youth is the church of tomorrow.” The majority of my life has been spent as a teen or youth and now my calling is to disciple and minister to teens. Wholeheartedly, now more than ever before, I believe teens are the church of today. The younger generation is the church and is the lifeblood of Christ’s call to make disciples. Why?

Guan Tianlang

Guan Tianlang

If you haven’t noticed lately, teens are changing and impacting our world in all areas of society. Guan Tianlang, a 14 year old phenom, made the cut at the MASTERS. Last year, Bryce Harper made his MLB debut at 19 and has never looked back. Teens making their debuts in the music industry has gone back to Mickey Mouse Club and as recently as Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber.

So, what about in the church? If teens can radically impact our world and society, then the same should be true in our churches and we should be seeing the fruit of that. I believe that can happen. I believe that does happen. But, do we let it happen to the extent it should happen? Is it happening in your church?

Two of the biggest lies our teens buy into while being part of the church (I know I did) are that their presence isn’t valued and that they are supposed to ‘sow their wild oats’  while they are young. Both of these stem from the fact that for most of our lives we have believed that youth are important tomorrow because we (as adults) are important today. We had been told that we were the future, so we want to be that future when we finally get the chance. But it’s hard to change the mindset, however, I think it needs changing.

imagesTelling youth that they are the church of tomorrow, I believe, excuses responsibility when Jesus says. “follow me now.” I think of John the beloved disciple who left his future and followed Jesus, some scholars say as early as the age of 16. And secondly, because leaders in the church haven’t taken time to invest in the lives of teens, therefore, they are reluctant to relinquish power. Discipleship hasn’t happened in their church and isn;t happening intentionally by them

Teens need to hear loud and clear that Jesus says ‘Follow Me Now’ in whatever you do or where ever you go. That it’s alright and preferred to not have a ‘come back to Christ’ testimony. That idea has become an idol in today’s Christianity. Also, leaders in the church need to see the importance of discipling teens themselves, so that they can actually entrust the church to these teens. The problem is that many times we focus so much of our time on our earthly goals and ambitions, that the importance of discipleship has been cast by the wayside. Our actions many times reflect a belief that ‘someone else will disciple them’ or ‘they don’t have to live right now,’ while excusing bad behavior contrary to the Gospel.

Youth Ministry intentionally attacks these two lies and shines a light of Gospel truth into their lives.

  1. So, how are you personally helping your local youth ministry?
  2. How are you personally discipling teens?