Wilds or Bust!!

This is a blog that we wrote for our church last year to share specifically, how to pray for our teenagers and sponsors while at camp. The information is still completely relevant! Please pray for us! Thank you!

 

Well today is Friday and we will be heading to the Wilds in just about 48 hours. I cannot express my excitement in words. We have gone two other years since I have been the youth pastor at Suncoast Baptist Church, but for some reason there is a little bit more excitement this time than before. I believe it has something to do with the fact that God has really been working in our youth ministry and in our church for the last two months in a very special way, and I believe that God has been preparing hearts and futures for this week.

I have been begging our church to pray for our teens for the upcoming week and if you are reading this before camp, or during camp then I ask you as well to lift up this week of camp in prayer. Here are some things you can pray about.

Pray for Safety

We are leaving Sunday night after church around 9:00pm and we will be driving overnight in 4 large passenger vans. It is a 12 hour drive , so please pray that we will get to camp safely with no issues at all. We will leave the camp on Saturday morning around 8:00am and we will be driving all day long to arrive back at the church sometime around 10pm or so.

Pray for Good Attitudes

We are traveling for a long time with 49 people. There will definitely be frustrating issues and stressful situations, so please pray for our teenagers and our chaperones that we will all be long-suffering and very patient.

Pray for Tender Hearts

God will do the greatest work in the teenager that has the most responsive heart. I believe that God will change our teenagers and our church and our city if our teenagers will soften their hearts to the Lord and completely surrender to Him.

Pray for Salvation

We are taking several teenagers that have not began a relationship with Christ. Please pray (especially on Wednesday) that they will clearly hear the gospel and turn to Christ. PRay that their salvation will be powerful, memorable, and genuine!

Pray for God’s Calling

I believe that God will call some of our teenagers to attend Bible college, and some even into full time service into the ministry. Pray that our teenagers will see that not only as an option, but as an honor and a privelege.

If you have not been praying, please start right now. We are leaving in a short time, and it is going to be the best week of some of these teenagers lives. I know that the summer that I graduated from High School, I went to the Wilds, and that week was the turning point in my life. I know that God wants many more turning points this next week!

Thanks for reading! Now Pray! ūüôā

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A Refreshing Day… WITH TEENAGERS?!?!

Well if you were to ask a hundred adults how they would want to enjoy a  refreshing day, I bet none of them would say that they want to enjoy a refeshing day with almost 20 teenagers. Believe it or not, today I did just that. I know, it may be hard to believe, but I spent the day (from 10:00am Р5:30pm) with almost 20 teenagers and I had such a great time.

We decided to make MLK Day an activity to hang out with each other instead of sleeping in until 3:00pm.

The day started with a couple board games, then we went outside and played a huge game of basketball. After that we had lunch, then we talked about some exciting plans for our youth ministry for about an hour. After that, we went outside and played football for a while and then we came in and “Jammed” to some awesome music.

It was definitely an action packed day, which might make you wonder how I could call that refreshing. Well, the fact is, it was not physically refreshing, but spiritually and emotionally refreshing. I was able to spend the day with several great teenagers! They were so much fun to be around. We spent time talking about what we can to to make our youth group even better. We spent time learning some new things on the guitar and piano. We even spent some time recruiting a few teenagers into the Church Orchestra! (Yay! Jessica!!!)

It was such a delightful day!

It makes me wonder… WHY IN THE WORLD IS IT SO HARD TO FIND YOUTH WORKERS?!?!?!?!

God has truly blessed our church with some sharp teenagers and they are in some of the most important decision making days of their lives. I would think that if there were¬†people who want to make a difference in someones life, that I would have a waiting list of workers trying to get in to work with the teenagers. But instead, I am with the teenagers each week, alone… Did you get that? 35 teens and one adult. Think about the impact that our church could have on teenagers, with just a few more adults. I am praying that God will provide some adults that want to get involved with some teenagers to encourage them and edify them in the Lord during some of their most difficult days…

Here are a few misconceptions that I believe keep people away from serving in the youth ministry.

1. Teenagers have bad attitudes.

Maybe your teenagers have bad attitudes, but honestly, most teenagers don’t. See, when my 2 year old son is around his mommy and I, the kid can be really naughty!! Seriously, but as soon as he is somewhere else, with someone he is not as familiar with, he magically turns into an angel. That doesn’t change when they become teenagers… Ok, well maybe they aren’t angels, but they do not hate everyone all the time. The way to get past the apparent attitude is to build a relationship with them… By the way: You are probably the same way, you are a little bit friendlier and warmer to the people who have formed a relationship with you.

2. Teenagers think that they are too cool for me.

No they don’t. They are so insecure that they¬†ACT like they think they are too cool for you, but inside they know that they are not. What they need is someone who will build and edify and love them (unconditionally). If they are¬†receiving the encouragement that they long for, once again, the walls will come down.

3. It is the Youth Pastors Job to reach our teenagers.

Wrong again. Sorry, but it is¬†not. God says that it is the parents job, so parents… come get involved. I often hear the excuse that, “my teenagers don’t want me around them and their friends.” If they don’t want you around, there is probably a reason… Fix it! Stop nagging them, or getting on to them about being silly… Major on the majors and minor on the minors.

My parents weren’t perfect, but somehow… they were cool! And my friends loved having them around! Be cool¬†Mom and Dad!¬†¬†(not weird…¬†that is¬†embarrasing) Get involved!

4. I could never teach a lesson to teenagers!!!

You don’t have too!!¬† Ralph Waldo Emerson said: “Who you are speaks so loudly I can’t hear what you’re saying.” Many times, they are not listening anyway… they are watching… Be the real deal and it will rub off. That is better than any preaching you or I can ever do!

5. Teenagers don’t want to talk to me.

Yes they do… they are just insecure! So, stop being insecure yourself, and GO TALK TO THEM!!!!

6. I don’t know how to get involved.

I am so glad you asked… see the nearest youth pastor TODAY!!! and sign up! Get involved as soon as possible! Seriously! If you put it off, then you will forget about it and your youth pastor will continue to be all alone week by week! What a refreshing time you are¬†missing out on!!! Get involved today!!!

Wanted: Guys that want to Grow

Something that I have envied over the past year are the tweets and the status updates that mention a group of men going to their “fraternity group” or their “book and a bagel club” to meet, socialize, hold each other accountable, sharpen each other, and grow together.

As I have mentioned this idea to some, I have heard, “I do not have time to fit something else in my schedule”. I understand. But I think that the sacrifice that might be required to make time for a group like this would be well invested.

Here are some reasons that I think a mens group is important and necessary:

1. Men Do Not Have Friends
– I mean we have golf buddies, work colleagues, and church acquaintances but we are not very good at establishing enjoyable lasting transparent friendships with other men. I recently started reading a book called: “Men Without Friends” and it has explained how hard it is for most men to build friendships. I remember growing up and hearing my Dad tell me how he had no friends, and I thought that was unusual, but the fact is that it is not. Far too many men have not sought out and invested into friendships and therefore they are not being sharpened, encouraged, and held accountable like they should be! “Iron sharpeneth¬†Iron, so a MAN sharpeneth the countenance of HIS FRIENDS!!!

2. Men Do Not Have Accountability
РNow I know, that is a scary word, but it is so important. I have heard over and over through college and through different podcasts and other methods of learning how important and necessary accountability is. The problem is: What kind of guy wants to walk up to another man, and admit that he is not superman, admit that he makes mistakes, admit that he struggles with something, and then ask that other man to help him with it? None! That is not natural! If a guy walks up to me and pours all his baggage out and ask me to hold him accountable, I have to admit, it is a little uncomfortable, and I am a pastor!!! If a group of guys meet together on a regular basis there is an automatic and much more comfortable form of accountability. The word of God says that a 3 chord string is not quickly broken, how about a ten chord string?

3. Men Do Not Grow

As I was growing up, I would go over to my grandmother’s house¬†and measure my growth on the back of one of their doors. It was so exciting to see where I was and see how far I have come! At about 17 years old, ¬†I stopped growing. If I went back to that door today, I would be the same height that I was many years ago. I stopped growing. Every man does the same thing physically, but worse, many men stop growing spiritually. We get apathetic, complacent, and just plain busy. If we do not make our own personal growth a priority then we will fail to grow. Every guy has a natural desire, or passion for success, an obsession to be the best that we can be. But if we stop growing that passion fades and we become less that what God intended for us to be. We must grow spiritually, mentally, and relationally.

There are many other reasons why this is something very important to me, but these are three fundamental reasons. My desire is to start some kind of mens group in January. We will study things like being a godly husband, father and¬†leader. We will generally¬†read a chapter a week and then meet¬†somewhere to talk about¬†what we read. Don’t worry! I know many of you DO NOT READ, but it will be simple,¬†no more than a page or two per day.¬†I am so excited about growing with you guys!!

Ladies, if you are reading this, get your husband on board… Now don’t freak him out by telling him up that you are signing him up for a mens accountability group. I don’t know if I would go to that either!! ūüôā Just tell him to read this! Thanks!

Great Time in Orlando

Today Pastor Chip and I drove to Orlando for the November BBF Meeting at Orlando Baptist Church. It was a great meeting, in fact it was probably the best meeting that I remember going to in quite some time. It was a great encouragement and also a great source of great mission ideas. Here is a summary of some of the information that walked away with. The second speaker was Kirk Nowery, and the information that he shared was fantastic. A few specific quotes that he mentioned are this:

“There has been no great cause ever accomplished by one single person”

“If you want to know what a leader is thinking: Ask him!”

“It has never been about you or I, it has always been about Jesus”

“You will only be as good as the team around you”

“Sacrifice: When you give up something you love for something else that you love more”

“Billy Graham said: The three keys to my success: Prayer, Prayer Prayer”

Kirk Nowery was a great communicator and a true blessing: I am looking forward to checking out a few of his books:

making the most of your life

revolutionary generosity  

After lunch, the youth pastors went into the OBC Solution Youth Room where we were encouraged by OBC youth pastor, Wesley Beacham. He shared a testimony about how God has worked in his life throughout the last few years. Wes shared personal lessons that he had learned about Ministry Success, Ministry Killers, and Ministry Fences. Wes shared how we can kill our ministry when we do not put our family first, and he also told us about a great book he finished reading called: “Running on Empty” by Fil Anderson. I am excited about reading it and learning first hand some of the things that he spoke so passionately about today.

I thoroughly enjoyed the meeting today including the speakers, my family (who were visiting Orlando, from Jacksonville) the youth pastor session, and all of the creative aspects of the meeting throughout the day, but more than all that, as usual, I really enjoyed the 5 hours of fellowship, brainstorming, vision casting, and dreaming with my pastor on the way to Orlando and on the way home.

We talked about several important and exciting things, including future staff members, future building projects, upcoming building campaigns, books, preaching styles, upcoming events and lots more. I really enjoy the monthly BBF meetings, but more than anything, I love the travel time with my pastor.