It's just my junk

We all have junk in our heads. This is mine.

Archive for the month “June, 2011”

Mission trip or Mission skip?

I have been thinking a-lot about the idea of mission trips, primarily because I have a trip for our junior high students coming up and still have several spots to fill and others to refill due to scheduling conflicts.
I then begin to wonder wha

t drives the gap between the mission trip and the mission skip. Admittedly, I think we adult youth workers might be at fault for the gap, allow me to explain my thoughts.
For years we have ran and hosted mission trips each summer, doing some awesome work with the area people, and ministries such as Group, Youth Works and CIY. But we tend to make this summer trip more like a vacation than a mission experience. Things we do that make it more vacation than mission:
1. We allow mom and dad to pay the fee without much effort to the student.
2. We make it a one week wonder. We spend very little time building the group dynamic, strengthening the spirituality of students.. (partly due to our need to fill spots ๐Ÿ™‚ ) or spending time learning about the people we will serve.
3. We celebrate the week of serving with a white water rafting trip, amusement park day or some other fun activity.
4. We tend to get home and do life as normal… no follow up or follow through.
5. We don’t use the trip to launch our students to get plugged into local non-profits in our areas (like food kitchens, pantries, tutoring etc)
6. We lack follow up with emotional moments the students experience during the week and don’t communicate them to the parents.

7. We tend to make the week about us (our church group) than the people we minister too.
I am not saying all the issues stem from us but think we do play an important role in how they are played out.
Some suggestions to consider, struggle with:
1. What if God has a person(s) on the trip that is being called to full time missions and we don’t help connect the dots?
2. What if God is using this experience to spark some fire under some students butt to get them more excited, committed or on fair for Him?
3. What if we take the energy recruiting and spend it praying and equipping students to respond to God’s call to the least of these?
4. What if we look at the summer mission trip as a launching pad for life time mission work, getting the Student Ministries involved in some local efforts or within the church serving?
5. What if we take the week and invest in building the students up as followers of Christ instead of entertaining them with park rides and hot dogs?
6. What if we just teach the students, what it means to love those who are without like Jesus loves us?
I know! I know… easier said than done. But, we are called to be in the world and not of it. Christ has set us free to be all we are created to be, maybe just maybe you are in need of someone to challenge, encourage and equip you to do the same.
I am looking forward to changing the way we view and do missions over the next few summers and hope God will bless us in the process.

Waiting to the last minute… Again

Waiting….. waiting for something to push me? It seems like we do our best work under pressure. We tend to put off today what we can do tomorrow. It seems we are better at adrenaline induced production than we are at making a plan and working on it until the deadline happens. I never felt it was something that had a large impact on my life. I would say I am pretty good at getting things on a time line and efficiently working on them over a period of time but then I look at a book on my desk that is designed to help people no longer procrastinate.. Which for me makes me chuckle… yes, I bought a book that is a helpful tool to help me not procrastinate. Did I mention that I have owned the book for almost 6 months without picking it up. Great idea poor execution.

The reason I post on this subject today is more painful. I am beginning to see my kids and those who I minister to begin to learn and apply my art of putting it off long enough to have to cram it all in to get it done method into their commitment. I could easily justify this with kids today are to busy, over committed and not focused on the important things, but is that really it. Yes, many of our teens and children are way over committed to things, sports, work, honors classes, serving, giving, playing sports, and other fun stuff but am I helping them learn to manage, and deal with the busyness of life but my example. We have no problem with cramming to clean the house (shoving things in closets etc.) when we are expecting guest but get on our kids for cramming to study for their final exams. We have no problem speeding to an event because we are not leaving enough time to get there but yell at our children for not having the table set for dinner. I am assuming you actually sit down and eat dinner together. I have a growing concern and yet to take action. Something has to change.. we can no longer continue to function this way… after all we are teaching our kids to do the same.

Please take a moment today or this week and review the many things you do in a day. week or month and take an honest assessment. How does your involvement, interest, actions and follow through make a good or not so good example for those who fall under your care.

Maybe you can celebrate the accomplishments, or the success you have had in getting better with your example but I am sure if you are anything like me… you will need to make some adjustments. I can’t swing a magic wand and be changed but I can begin each day with goals and simply steps to help me help them.

Good luck on the journey of life.

Emotional times

Yes, It happens every year. All across the world, students are graduating from high school and heading into adulthood, some attend college, others the military and some off to the working world. One thing that is common with all of us is the emotions we experience in the final days of our senior year.
Please take a minute to think back to your last day of school, then graduation day, then to your party and visiting friends parties. What do you recall? What emotions, feelings come to mind? How did the week play out for you?

The reason I ask is simply two-fold. I would like you to remember and realize how far you’ve come from high school and to encourage you to use those emotions to help the current senior student in processing theirs.

I met with a young lady today who was participating in a senior service day. They have no school but are encouraged to serve in the community. She was at the church with some friends to serve in our day-care school.

I asked her a couple of questions, that might be a good tool for you to use in helping them process it all:

1. How was your last day of high school?
2. What emotions / feelings did you have?
3. What are you hoping to do in the next couple of days leading up to graduation?
4. How did your commencement practice go?
5. How are things working out for your graduation party or college fees?
6. How can I be praying for you?

Please be praying and encouraging all the seniors you know as they step out of the security of high school to the unknown, unexplored world of adulthood. We all know how great an adventure it is but also all the fears that can accompany it.
Congrats seniors, you have earned it.

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