So in the blogging world of Cory and Shanna, a need for change has been brewing within us... 1. We've blogged here on and off for over 3 years now with varied levels of commitment 2. The content of this blog seems even more varied at times and I often wonder what it's purpose is or has become 3. I'm deeply moved, influenced, encouraged and challenged by the 30+ blogs I try to read each week, and sense a stirring to contribute in a more focused way 4. most of my time in life is spent thinking about and living within the trenches of student ministry, and I long to share some of what I'm processing and thinking with other youth workers, especially those that I already know 5. Everyday I'm learning how closely tied a youth worker's family and personal life are to his/her ministry, and want a blog that still shows that link from the content posted 6. And... I'm sick of Blogger.com (no offense guys - thanks for keeping it easy for tech dummies like me) and enamored with Wordpress.com
Shanna hasn't blogged in a long time and seems to have lost the itch, at least for now. But she might resurface with some gentle prodding...
Not exactly sure where this is leading yet, but these are just some thoughts... To all 3 of our readers lol, stay tuned!
i had just entered the youth ministry world back when mike yaconelli suddenly passed away, but his videos, books, and quotes have challenged me greatly. here's one i found buried on my facebook page:
"if i were to have a heart attack right at this moment, i hope i would have just enough air in my lungs and just enough strength in me to utter one last sentence as i fell to the floor: 'what a ride!' my life has been up and down, careening left then right, full of mistakes and bad decisions, and if i died right now, even though i would love to live longer, i could say from the depths of my soul, 'what a ride!'"
this guy truly was crazy.
(this clip is kinda long, but it's worth hearing his passion for student ministry and his "wahoooo's")
the last few years lakeshore has dedicated an entire saturday to helping its leaders grow in their leadership (in addition to the global leadership summit in august) and today was this year's big day. it was great... and here's a few reasons why:
- a relatively new church member is the president of an executive and leadership development firm, and she gifted us today by leading the entire event and taking us through some of her material. it was so beneficial and i can tell why big corporations in the area bring her in to work with their executives.
- in explaining how he stumbled upon this "gem" right within our church's community, pastor vince stated that "whatever God has GIVEN your church right now is exactly what your church NEEDS right now". it was a profound statement and reminder for me. like many other pastors, i find it easy to look at other churches and covet their resources, facilities, levels of staff, absence of conflict (yeah right), and big budgets.
- a few of our student leaders were able to join up all day with us adults, and it was fun to see the two groups interact together. in an overwhelmingly adult environment, these guys kept right up and added value to the room. it truly felt as if everyone in the room shared my view of them: that they're not the leaders of tomorrow, but the leaders of today!
i'm really not sure why, but this terrible music video has gone viral and is huge within youth culture right now. at the time of this posting it's had almost 17 million views and is now being rapidly downloaded from itunes. one of my small group guys told me about it last night.
i have to, for my own sanity, believe that teens are downloading it just to make fun of it.
when we got home last night we were greeted with another couple inches of snow. in november, it's pretty... in december, it's desireable... in january, it's cold... in february, it's annoying... but in march is just plain old!
i'm so crazy blessed right now to be able to be here in chicago at the simply youth ministry conference (a live feed during general sessions can be viewed here). the only thing that could possibly make it better would be to have shanna here with us. definitely gotta fix that for next year! here's a few random things that have made me smile during the weekend so far:
1. powerful general sessions the worship and speakers have hit it out of the park each time! God is using them in big ways to challenge our hearts, recharge our reservoires, and create space for us to be intimate with the Almighty. doug fields spoke last night (with some CRAZY on-screen creativity), and louie giglio killed it in the morning session today! the skit guys have been hilarious, and shane and shane, matt maher, and tim timmons have brought us to the throne.
2. time with each other i'm especially thankful for the opportunity to be here with 5 other adult leaders from our student ministry back home. in fact, i'd love to have all 15 of them here (and the other youth leaders from other area churches in our community). it has been truly great to connect deeper together in a more relaxed and casual environment, and discuss all the things we're learning and growing through during this time. it's so much better than coming alone!
3. watching them connect with God i love seeing God work in our students... and i love seeing Him work in our leaders. to see them with their hands raised in worship and to watch them digest life-giving, mission-inspiring words puts a smile on my face like nothing else.
4. creativity unleashed there's something about large group presentations that tap into the creative arts that connect our hearts to God in profound ways. there's a truly gifted artist here this weekend who has been painting on canvases and adding to the stage design live during the worship sessions, and it's been powerful to watch. coming from someone who's still trying to perfect the stick figure, it truly amazes me! i was gonna try to put some pictures in here, but it's not letting me right now. :(
5. practical tips, tricks, and ideas my moleskine journal is filling up fast with tons of great ideas, tips, and tricks that we can easily implement in our setting back home. i want to make the most of this conference so that i can make the most of my calling. it's in spaces like this where God really begins to use things we've heard and learned to shape some ideas that may change and morph some things in our ministry, and it'll influence how our students interface with God!
one of my small group guys has a birthday tomorrow, and tonight at group we're gonna try to celebrate it so that he feels a little extra special. not really doing much - just a few cheap and easy things - but it's amazing how as a small group leader just "noticing" can go so far.
i'm not a big birthday person at all - in fact the people close to me know that because it shows in the effort i've often given to their birthday gifts (or lack thereof, to be more truthful). in fact my roommate in college literally got ticked off if you said happy birthday to him or got him a gift! i think he rubbed off on me.
but... as a small group leader, it's not about me. if it's a big deal to most people, it's probably worth a little effort for all.
i'm just hoping the guy in my small group isn't like my roommate!
what are some creative (and simple) ways you've found to celebrate someone's birthday?