Thursday, June 30, 2011

My part time job...

Ministry. It can never be a part time job if your really into it... with your whole heart. You go home thinking and praying for students, you see things here and there that remind you of new games or get you excited for something new that you could do... it's a great life!

I've been working at my church for 6 months now. It's been an insane ride - so i wanted to share a few stories with ya...

Found: i started a small group for 4th/5th grade girls. I called it found - based off my favorite verse in the bible - Jeremiah 29:12-13. loosely put the Lord says that if you call on the Lord he'll be with you and when you seek him with your whole heart he will be found by you. I love that verse. It comes right after one of my least favorite verses (well, when people take it completely out of context...) jeremiah 29:11 that says that the Lord has good things planned for us... but people stop short and miss the truth that lies in verse 12-13... that he doesn't have good things for us and then just leaves us be... he's got good things planned for us and he's with us the whole way... So anyhow - i started this group to hang out and love on these students. The hope was to show them God's love in a real way - challenge them in their relationships and in their growth into teenagers and just be their friend and be around for questions and help encourage them to deepen their relationship with the Lord.

i started with 4 girls and the most i've had one night was 9... it's been fun. we've laughed, gotten frustrated, went to the mall, i've turned the church into a challenge course, and we've eaten cereal for dinner. The girls are faithful to come and love hanging out and having fun. I'm secretly teaching them about relationships and encouraging them to become Godly women...

Roots: this is our sunday night ministry. The theme is obviously growing deep roots of truth with the kids while they're young. I just started doing kidz church on sunday nights wtih the students and it's been a blast! we do a game, worship, bible lesson, and small group time. The kids are starting to get into the routine and are starting to engage in worship and calm down a little with their small group leaders and are having some fun discussions.

Caley: Caley is my friend amber's daughter - and when i started she was really shy, didn't talk much, and loathed coming to church. 6 months later - caley hangs out at church all the time, volunteers with the preschool/toddler class, has been helping us remodel the rooms and isn't quiet or shy anymore :) i love that kid - it's been so fun to see her grow and come out of her shell. I'm excited to build our friendship deeper and help her get to know her papa...

Summer Events: my church has done VBS for a gazillion years - well, we're not doing it this year :) it didn't fit in with my philosophy of ministry... i thought back to when i was a kid and the fact that i hated going to sunday school and church and vbs and that it was boring and i didn't really get what they were talking about... and then i thought about in high school when i did start to care about Jesus - it wasn't that i just needed to hear the stories again - it was because people were loving me and caring for me - treating me like i mattered... and telling me about jesus at the same time. So- that's my philosophy of ministry. To create an atmosphere where kids know they are unconditionally loved, safe, cared for, and believed in... and teach them about how much their Papa loves them. So - this summer we're doing activities that integrate the families are are made to help teach parents to having fun/spiritual conversation with their kids wherever they are. We went to silver creek falls, we're going to the zoo and the aquarium, we're having some bbq's and live music and we're going to have an epic paint battle... I'm pretty excited about them.

Jenny&Liz: i got 2 college girls that have stepped up big time and have been giving a lot of their time to come help me out. they are small group leaders for the 4th/5th graders, help sing on sunday nights, and have spent a majority of the past few weeks helping me renovate the "drop spot" (where we do kidz church) and are getting stoked to have painting parties when we get the paint for the other 3 rooms. It's fun to see them go from people that sat along the wall and watched the kids to leaders that i can share vision with and that i can leave at the church and know they'll get the task done ( as well as prank my office - but it's probably only fair)...

so - that's a lil snapshot of ministry lately. there's so much more, it's pretty awesome. Tomorrow is my day off - whatever that means - and me and liz are going to buy a new drill so we can be ready for building more stuff for the new rooms and clean the drop spot so it's ready for sunday... i'll have to put up pictures cause it looks REALLY cool!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

a little bit down...

Today was the first summer family activity i planned for our kids ministry for this summer. It was a big step of faith... i decided not to do VBS (which the church has done for longer than i've been alive) and plan 5+ fun family days that can be used to help families learn how to have normal spiritual conversations outside of church, how to use naturally occurring learning opportunities, and to have some fun activities to invite their friends with kids to come to that are outside the church walls - to promote relationships and doing life together... rather than church programs.

SO, the last few days have been filled with great ideas, finding awesome things for the drop spot (the room we have kidz-church in sunday night) and creating lots of amazing things and doing them alongside a bunch of people who are passionately investing their time, life, and soul into the kids... it was great. We woke up this morning and kept the adventures going... then people showed up - and explore day was under way... it was a great time! lots of fun and hanging out.... it was sunny - there were 4 families there and we ran into one more that was at the falls on vacation and got to say hi... all in all - i think it was a success!

so - on friday i went out and bought a video camera. I want to get the kids smiles and goofy antics in front of people in the church... a simple reminder that there ARE kids in our church and they having FUN and learning to love one another deeply in the process... and so i bought this video camera and made a quick 2 minute snap shot of the day... it thought it was great for the 2nd video i have ever made... the first was last night... and i proudly ran out and showed it to rob and carolyne and rob liked it - but the other thing he said about it was a snarky remark of "woah, who the heck was in charge of taping - that's WAY too fast and jerky"

it's my first time using a video camera dude... i use to stills - it doesnt' matter how fast you move....

so - needless to say - i'm feeling a bit down. i just wanted a little affirmation - a quick "nice work, that's awesome!" just a little something encouraging me to continue my work... but oh well... But - here's the video for you all to see... not cause i am fishing for a little bit of affirmation - but because i want to share my life with you - share my ministry - share the smiles and joy and jesus that i see in these kids faces :) enjoy! (oh, and make sure you watch it the whole way to the end!)

video

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

a weekend of learning

well, this weekend was one of our quarterly staff retreats. it was quite the learning experience.
i learned that sun-river is beautiful
i learned that caves are dirty
i learned that stalagtites are slimy (and hurt a lil when you run into them)
i learned that directions aren't always accurate
i learned that getting lost is fun with friends
i learned that hard alcohol acts differently than wine
i learned that i need to take my contacts out more often
i learned that rob loves me - no matter what
i learned that amber cares deeply for me
i learned that it's important to face truth - no matter how hard it is.

as i was hiding outside - reeling in the embarrassment of my actions wondering if anyone even knew i was outside - rob come out to find me, wraps his arms around me, and tells me he loves me - no matter what. Then he slowly walked me closer to the door - closer to facing the fear of being rejected or judged - and the truth that him and amber love me, care about me, and won't leave me because i'm stupid. it was one of the hardest things i've done in a while - but as rob walked inside - reached out his hand for me to take it and follow him inside i was instantly greeted by amber giving me a big long hug: that's one of those experiential learning moments that i wont be quick to forget. i might need a reminder here or there - another hand reached out waiting for me to take it - but in that moment i got a glimpse at the unconditional love of my earthly "father" and my heavenly father.

bottle of coke: $ 3.00
fifth or rum: $12.00
knowing your unconditionally loved: priceless.