Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Mountain Tops

Camps and Mission Trips provide very high mountain top experiences. Students embark on a week long journey where they are thrust into new situations, high energy environments, lots of new friends, and experiences where they can encounter God often.

By the end of the week student's hearts are soft, and they feel as though they are a new person.

They feel like they've reached the top of a mountain.

Then they come home.

Those friends aren't there. They aren't busy 24/7. God is a part of their life, but he's not being talked about every hour of the day.

How do you handle mountain top experiences?

Do you continually try to recreate them?

Do you accept that life has valleys?

What is the normal protocol on this?

You love seeing a student's heart being changed, and you want them to have those mountain top experiences. But what happens when you go home? Should you seek them out and try to maintain that feeling? Or should you advise students to be able to walk through a valley?

Life will have its valleys. And following Jesus is not just about a feeling. How do you explain that to a 7th grader?

Our student ministry just came back from an epic trip. Many students made life changing decisions.

How should I, as the youth pastor, assimilate them back into everyday life?

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Chattanooga Recap

Hello everybody!

I am incredibly sorry for those of you who wanted to receive updates from our trip during the week while we were down in Chattanooga.

Free time was at an absolute premium, and I actually never had time to sit down and weed thru emails, write a blog, or even respond to some text messages.

I hope you all can forgive me.

Allow me to recap our week.

Sunday- We arrive Sunday evening around 6:30. We were 30 minutes late. Apparently middle school bladders are much smaller than anticipated, additionally we ran into a crazy amount of post 4th of July traffic which slowed us down. As we arrived we sat down ate dinner, and did some "Get-to-know-you" type of things while the leaders had a meeting.

Five other churches were present and in total we had about 74 people at this church all at one time.

We sat down as leaders, and got to know one another, while students played, and got some orientation type of stuff for the week.

After all of that we had "Club." Club is basically a mini "Youth Group" where all 74 of us crammed into a small room. Following Club which was games, songs, and a little short talk we broke up into church group time and debriefed the day.

Monday-Thursday Monday thru Thursday morning the days all looked similar.  UBC's group broke up into two different crews. In total there were five crews. Crews are a collection of students and leaders from all the different churches.  My crew was named the "Free" crew. Jake and Michelle led a crew called the "Seek" crew.

Free Crew: 

Seek Crew: 

Each  morning we went out to a service site, ate lunch, then went to another service site.

Free crew
Monday: (AM) Kids club orientation (PM) Kids Club
Tuesday: (AM) Nursing home visits (PM) Kids Club)
Wednesday: (AM) Lookout Mountain clean up (PM) Nursing home visits
Thursday: (AM) YCap Youth Center (PM) Nursing home visits

Seek crew
Monday: (AM) Autobahn Acres clean up (PM) Nursing home visits
Tuesday: (AM) Autobahn Acres clean up (PM) Nursing home visits
Wednesday: (AM) Kids club orientation (PM) Kids Club
Thursday: (AM) Food Pantry (PM) Kids Club

After our PM service we would head back to the church for free time/shower time.

After showers we met up for dinner and then an evening activity.

Monday we went to a really cool place called Rock City.
Tuesday we went to a park with snow cones, a fountain, and some just played football or passed a frisbee.
Wednesday we went to a worship service at our host church called "Worship Out Loud."
Thursday night we grilled out at a park and the students swam in a lake, or other played in the sand.

After evening activity we had club and church group time then lights out by 10:30.

Thursday night was great where we had a footwashing service modeling the example laid out to us by Jesus. It was a very emotional night. Many students were crying as the Holy Spirit was moving in the room and was touching hearts.  Many students made commitments to follow Jesus or rededicate their lives to him. It was a very powerful night.

Friday- Friday morning we woke up super early, we cleaned up the church, then we hit the road!

It was a great trip! I want to again thank all of you who contributed financially or back home supporting us in prayer! We truly appreciated it. I know this was a life changing trip not only for all of our students, but also for many of our adult leaders.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Missions Trip Part 2

In case you missed it on this blog last week I had some of my most largest page views in the history of this blog.

Unfortunately it wasn't because I wrote something earth shattering or life changing. Instead it was because this blog turned into mission trip central!

If you didn't happen to read any of them, click on the "June" archive, right here to the right, and read any of the updates!

In fact, that trip is what has inspired my most recent blog posting and my most recent teaching topic on the power of prayer.

Make sure you check it out!

But I'm now going to be taking a bunch of middle schoolers down to Chattanooga TN for a week with Youthworks!

I'm very excited for this trip.

I ask that you please keep us in your prayers, and bear with this blog as it once again becomes a center for mission trips!

Thursday, July 4, 2013


How do you do in your prayer life?

If you're anything like me, terrible!

I just got back from a missions trip. We served a Spanish speaking church in the Valley of Texas. Every morning we went to a 5 am prayer that they had at their church. The church was built upon this principle. It was early. I was tired. It was dark. And often times sleep was knocking at my door. However, the pay off was incredible!

They decided that they would commit to spending the first part of their day in the presence of the Lord. How can you argue with something like that?!

It is such a great, awesome combination!

I decided I would try to start that when I got home, and wake up every morning and pray. Some mornings have been better than others.

This trip truly transformed the way I view prayer, and how important it truly is.

In the Old Testament we're told that priests could only enter the Holy of Holies one time per year.

When Jesus died the temple veil was torn into two, allowing us access into the most sacred of places and giving God and his Spirit a place to dwell, to live inside of us!

Yet, for whatever reason, prayer is the easiest thing to neglect. The thing that was once considered sacred and holy is what we push off to the side and say, "Ahh, I'll get to it later."

I'm deciding to commit to spending the first part of my day in the presence of the Lord, and I challenged our students to do that last night as well. Additionally I passed out a prayer journal to all the students.  We challenged them to utilize this in their prayer lives this summer.

What are some ways you have succeeded in your prayer life? Any hints, tips, or ideas for staying committed?

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Ultimate Youth Worker Giveaway Announced!

The winner of the ultimate youth worker give away is..

Alex Tufano!

Alex, DM me your email and your mailing address and we will get this stuff out to you soon!