This morning, I am starting my day in one of my newest favorite places; Chick-Fil-A. Specifically the Chick-Fil-A in Washington, PA. I am trying to create a few NEW habits, 1. taking more time to actually sit, study, and write, 2. watch my calorie intake, and avoid the expense of too many visits to Starbucks. Chick-Fil-A is local, inexpensive, and offers a quiet place with free wifi where I can sit, think and write. Has I shared in Monday's blog post, Taking Control of What I Can Control, I am attempting to be intentional with my life, my ministry, my dreams, and my family.
Now here I am with a breakfast burrito (440 calories), a glass of water (0 calories); which together only cost me $2.75. Free wifi, a quiet atmosphere, great worship music playing in the background, and time to sit and write. And it has occurred to me that a number of weeks have passed since a posted a ministry recap. So today's post is being written to share some of the things we have been doing in our ministry. Welcome to this weeks Weekly Ministry Recap!
Yes, it's been quite a while since our last recap, and much has happened. We have hosted a super successful first-time winter retreat with the new group. We took 44 students and 10 adults to a local camp for a great weekend of winter fun, minus the snow and cold. We've made it through our first Holy Week and Easter at the new church. And we've survived our first congregational meeting. It's actually hard to believe it's March 31st.
But let's talk about what has been happening more recently. Here is this weeks run down.
High School Ministry :: Tuesday Night
Game Time: Wiffle Ball in the Gym
Snack: Chips & pretzels, Juice, soda and water
Announcements: We had 2 announcements
- OneWay 2016 Dodgeball Tournament [ CLICK HERE ]
- 30 Hour Famine coming up in April 2016 [ CLICK HERE ]
- MADE, Week 3
- Knowing Your S.H.A.P.E. (We'll talk more about this later.)
Total Student Count: 16
Junior High Ministry :: Wednesday Night
PSC Camp Night
Game Time: Scatterball at the end
- OneWay 2016 Dodgeball Tournament [ CLICK HERE ]
- 30 Hour Famine coming up in April 2016 [ CLICK HERE ]
- Special Student/Parent Night announcing our Summer Camp Dates and Plans
Total Student Count: 25 / Parent Count 4
Let me share with you a little bit of our recent series, MADE.
First, our MADE series for the High School Ministry. This was a great series. Simple to put together, but it came off pretty powerful, and I'm excited to where this might lead us as a group.
The point of the series was to get students thinking about ministry, and how to use their gifts and talent to serve within the student ministry, church, and community. We started by looking at 1 Corinthians 12:12-31 and illustration of how the Church body is like the human body; many parts making up the whole. There is a fun little video on YouTube.com that we used as an into. It's call Mr. Potato Head Theology. (You can find it here; https://youtu.be/FeFdByvk5uo.)
Week Two included a look at Spiritual Gifts. I made use of a website that I have found super helpful in dealing with Spiritual Gifts. The site is, SpiritualGiftsTest.com, which offers a great explanation of the gifts and an easy Spiritual Gifts Test that only takes about 5 minutes to complete. Of course when teaching Spiritual Gifts, you want to be aware of your church's doctrinal stand, as there a number of differing opinions as to the usage of Spiritual Gifts in todays church. Another great resource I've found helpful is Matt Chandlers sermon series on Spiritual Gifts. Matt is the teaching pastor at The Village Church in Texas. You can find his sermons among their podcasts.
We spent our time looking at the Spiritual Gifts that are listed, talked about them briefly, and then encouraged the students to take the Spiritual Gifts test online and bring in their results.
For Week Three we utilized Doug Field's S..H.A.P.E. materials which helped students realize how they can bring the Spiritual Gifts together with how God has uniquely shaped them with their talents and abilities, passions and experiences, to DO ministry. We had the student begin filling out their S.H.A.P.E. Inventory that night.
All of this is leading us to the recruitment of students for our new Student Ministry Teams. I am also organizing the materials in a way where I can share what we did and used. When it's ready, I'll make it available here on the blog.
Over all, it's been a great week. I have a lot of things that I am working on as I get ready for our summer activities. Tomorrow marks the beginning of my 8th month at our current church. It's been great to be able to take this first year easy, just observing and learning as I go. It's something I plan on writing about later when I finish this first year, because it's really the first time I've come into a church and hadn't initiated a lot of change.
Hope your ministry is going well!
I remember when I started in youth ministry. I was young. Not even married. I had time. I had passion. I had freedom. Youth ministry was fun. When I married, not too much changed. I was still young. I still had time. Because I was working a pretty good job, I had some extra money. And, my wife was as much into youth ministry as I was. At the time ministry was fun and easy. Doing things with students was easy, spontaneous, adventurous. Concerts, camps, amusement parks, trips, pizza parties, hayrides, bonfires, Christmas parties, lock-ins, all of it came so easily.
When I accepted my first full-time call, I was so excited. Two years married. One kid (barely a year old) and one on the way. We moved. We were ready. I poured everything I had into the ministry and it was awesome. The ministry grew. With two little ones, we were able to go just about anywhere. And we did, traveling to most events together, my wife and I, and the 2 kids. Ministry was still exciting and pretty easy. I loved being with teens; the conversations, the fun, the way they looked up me. It was such a great feeling. And I remember thinking, as I looked at my two boys, “This is great! I can’t wait till I can have this same relationship with my kids. We’re going to have some great discussions. We’re going to do so many cool things together.”
Now, let’s take a big leap forward. It's now 18 years later. I have 5 kids. 3 teenagers (almost 18, 16, & 13). Then there's 10 year old and the 7 year old. When my oldest entered our middle school ministry, with his brother following a year later, it was fun. But then they hit high school, and something changed.
All of a sudden, the high hopes for being the super cool youth pastor/dad popped as the dart of reality was thrown my way. I wrote a blog post on our family blog called, Raising Teenagers is Nothing Like Ministering to Teenagers. In the post I shared my surprise as to how different I thought it was between being a parent and a youth pastor. I’ve had to learn some difficult lessons. But even more, I know I need to learn more.
For a number of years, I’ve watched from the outside as YP’s/Pastor older then me juggled the work of parenting and pastoring. They always looked like they had it all together. They led dynamic ministries while raising what appeared to be incredible kids. I’ve heard stories of conversations, trips, and events that were shared by parent and pastor, and I longed for the same. But now with two teens in the house and one quickly approaching the teen years, I have to wonder if what I saw on the outside was true of what was happening on the inside. And if it was, what did they do differently.
I get that there is a separation between being a parent and pastor. But is there a point at which you can marry the two together, applying what was learned as a youth worker to what is being done as the parent.
So here’s my hope. My hope is that there are others in a similar situation of being a parent to teens while still ministering to teens, who read this and think, I can get in on this one.
I want to know…
- What are you doing to bridge the gap between parent and pastor?
From the teaching to the discipline. From the mid-week fun to the end of week ugliness. From mission trips that end on a high to the family argument over a missed curfew.
What works? What doesn’t?
If you don’t have teens yet, what are you doing to prepare for that day?
Are you feeling or thinking the same thing? I think if we as youth workers are honest and share what we’re dealing with, we stand to become both better parents and better pastors. So, please take a few minutes and share!
How are you bridging the gap between being a parent and a pastor?
This past weekend as our family celebrated the Easter weekend, I saw something that disturbed me. It was a picture of me. And it caused me to take a step back.
We were out in the yard dying eggs with the kids on Saturday. Whenever we do something like this there is bound to be some craziness. And sure enough there was. There was laughter, a wiffleball bat, eggs being thrown, air soft guns, and a kid on the roof. Don't ask.
In the midst of all the fun, Amy was frantically taking pictures of the kids and the spectacle as it unfolded. It was in this flurry of spontaneous chaos that Amy snapped a photo of us standing at the table. Later when I looked through the pictures she had taken, I was horrified.
There I was, looking very old and VERY overweight. I wish I could say that it was just a pic taken at a bad angle, or that I was standing funny and so it only looked like I was heavy, but I can't. It was me, and I didn't like the me that I saw.
At the beginning of the year, I set the goal of losing a few pounds in 2016. The last couple of years (2012-2015) were stressful years. I didn't not take good care of myself. I spent a lot of time stressed out, eating too much, and not exercising at all. I gained a lot of weight. So with the new year starting, I hoped to drop some weight and get a little healthier.
But over the last three months my exercise routine has been spotty at best. Some weeks were great; I was on the treadmill, watching what I ate, and really trying. But then there were weeks where I didn't make the time to work out. I lost a couple of weeks preparing for student retreat which kept me up late and up early. Then there were a couple weeks where I was sick. Excuses? Sure. But also a part of my reality.
ONE: I'm Taking control of me.
- It's long, long overdue, but it's time to take control of my health. It's time to say, Yes, to exercise and better eating habits. It's time to get serious about my life because it matters to people around me; like my wife, my kids, and my students. After seeing the picture, I know that I need to lose some weight. I want to lose the weight. And so, I'm taking it back. It time to get healthy.
TWO: I'm taking control of my call.
- When I stepped back into student ministry, I made a promise. I was going to be the best youth pastor I can be. No more taking the short cut by doing what I know. No, I want to walk on the edge. I want to engage students like I've never done before. I want to build a ministry that is fresh, relevant, and life-changing. I don't believe God wants me to settle for the sure and easy, so it's time to get real.
While I have no intentions of leaving student ministry any time soon, I do hope to take the last 25 years and put them to good use. It's always been my dream to walk along side the next generation of youth worker.
THREE: I'm taking control of my dreams.
- I have been a youth pastor for 25 years. That's a long time to work with students. But while I have no intentions of leaving student ministry any time soon, I do hope to take the last 25 years and put them to good use. It's always been my dream to be able to turning around and walk along side the next generation of youth worker. Through blogging, conferences and conventions, speaking, training, and book writing, I want to pass along all that was passed along to me over the years.
FOUR: I'm taking control of my family.
- Don't panic, this isn't some crazy dictatorship that I am looking to launch. The control I'm talking about comes with me being a better husband and father. It's time to once again put my family first, to think of their needs and fighting for what's right for us as a family. And it's time to get back to doing the things that we love doing; like sharing our story via the blog and vlog.
The weekend is here. But this weekend isn't your normal weekend. This weekend we remember and celebrate the arrest, crucifixion, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Today, is known as Good Friday. Today, we pause and remember the death of Jesus.
We would like to invite you and your family to take today to slow down a bit and consider what this day represents. Today, Christ dies for the sins of the world. Jesus, willingly goes to the cross for you and me. Would you take a minute and read through John 19:1-41. In these verses, John, the only disciple to be at the foot of the cross, shares his eyewitness-testimony. You can read John 19 by clicking here; JOHN 19.
The Bible tells us, that Jesus came to earth to die on the cross to save the world from sin. We all have sin. Every single one of us. And the result of our sin leads to death. But Jesus willingly chose to take our place, to die for us that we might live. His death brings forgiveness through the shedding of his blood, All of this shows us just how much God loves us.
On behalf of everyone in the Higham household, and across all of our blogs and social media, we would like wish you a special and life-chaning, Happy Easter! We hope and prayer for you and your family, is that you know just how much God loves you!
Welcome back for part 2 of my 10 favorite youth ministry websites. If you missed yesterdays post with the first 5 websites, you should go and read part 1 here, My 10 Favorite Youth Ministry Websites. Today I share the next 5 websites or blogs for youth ministry. So without further delay...here we go!
Walt Mueller is the culture guru. He has spend his career watching, evaluating, writing about the impact that culture has on the lives of teenagers. A regular lecturer in the youth ministry conference world, Walt brings his wisdom and insight to youth workers in the form of training and resources to help us get a better grasp on what's happening in the world around us. Walt is also a sought after speaker/teacher for parents, churches, and other organizations who look to encourage parents and adults as they face the task of raising or working with students. Walt's blog, Learning my lines... and the CPYU.org website is my number one go-to site for the latest on culture. [ VISIT CPYU.ORG ]
Long-time youth worker, Terrace Crawford, offers his wisdom and experience at TerraceCrawford.com. From blog posts to coaching, Terrace's site is loaded with great content and resources. Needing more than just an article? Terrace is also a coach and youth speaker. And be sure to check out Terrace's new podcast! The weekly podcast called, This Week in Youth Ministry, is a great podcast where Terrace interviews various guests and talks youth ministry. Visit Terrace's website and blog by clicking here, TerraceCrawford.com.
Launched in 2010 by Kenny Elle Campbell, veteran youth workers who have a heart for sharing great resources with the Church! The site StuffYouCanUse.org, offers an great blog, buckets of resources, a helpful podcast, devotional content, games, and practical training. If you have visited StuffYouCanUse.org, I would highly recommend you taking some time to surf around and see what they have to offer. [ VISIT STUFFYOUCANUSE.ORG ]
StokedOnYouthMinistry.com is a newer site for me. I have just recently started reading the various posts that have come along by Todd Jones and his list of blog contributors. Todd has been doing youth ministry since 2006, and uses the blog to share, encourage, and inspire other youth workers. Along with the blog posts, your can find a selection of resources such as games, teaching materials, and links to a handful of other youth ministry sites.
[ VISIT STOKEDONYOUTHMINISTRY.COM ]
The brain child of Mark Oestreicher and Adam McClane, TheYouthCartel.com is more than a blog. From their own, About Us page, The Youth Cartel’s mission is to encourage and challenge adults who minister to youth through holistic professional coaching, strategic consulting, transformational events, and inventive resource development that advance youth ministry in new ways. Yes, the blog is great, but The Youth Cartel also offers coaching and ministry support through their growing list of events which they sponsor. [ VISIT THEYOUTHCARTEL.COM ]
So there you have it, 10 of my favorite youth ministry websites/blogs. In no order of importance, these are the sites that I most frequent when I am looking for resources, reading up on what's happening in the youth ministry world, or looking for what others are thinking and saying.
What are so of your favorites websites of blogs? Share them below and I will add them to the growing list of sites for others to discover.
Do you have your own site or blog? Send me a link and I will include you in an upcoming post for new and undiscovered bloggers!
As always, thanks for reading!
Jay Higham is a veteran youth worker of over 30 years; having worked with students in the local church and Christian camping settings. Jay is currently serving as the director of family ministry at a church, located in West Virginia. Jay has been married to Amy for over 25 years. Together, they are raising 5 kids, (4 boys and 1 girl). Jay is an aspiring author, blogger, speaker, vlogger, and social media junkie. He is passionate about student ministry, family ministry, and training youth workers to love and serve their students with passion and excellence.