Tuesday, September 20, 2011

    Book Give-Away Winner plus Fall Planning Ideas!

    Our congratulations to Cheryl Hatch for winning the random drawing for a copy of our text Missional Youth Ministry.  Thanks to everyone who entered the drawing by sharing with us what your youth ministry will be focusing on this fall.  What a really amazing list of ideas we received! Everything from studies on missional living, to prayer, to bullying.  Below are many of the ideas submitted. Lots of great suggestions so you may want to bookmark this post when for you need a little inspiration during future planning:

    • This year our focus will be getting to known the arch of the Bible.
    • Our focus will be service as related to justice...and congratulations!
    • In sept we are focussing on building the culture of our youth group through team-building, covenant making, etc. in october we will focus on loss and grief because of some tragic losses that our teens experienced over the summer.
    • My theme for the first two weeks is called: life transformed. It is testimony driven.
    • I am taking our group through the "how to" of missional living in school, home, and church, while keeping Jesus' relational life as our model.
    • Our theme of study for this school year. So the first unit is: Who is God? We will talk about God as Creator, God as one who keeps promises, the language we use to talk about God, etc. etc. Should be fun!
    • I'm teaching ideas adapted from Stomping out the Darkness by Neil Anderson. We're looking at our identity in Christ and changing our thinking.
    • This year our weekly gathering will be going through the book of Jonah and our small groups are going through "Crazy Love"- Our whole church has a theme of "commissioned to love".
    • Our theme for the year is "Who do you say I am?" and we are now looking at Jesus' life, death, and resurrection.
    • This quarter we're doing the History of God's people, helping our students understand God's faithfulness to and relationship with his people over time.
    • I truly want my youth group to be more about mission work community involvement than the previous year. After only having the Youth Director gig for a year now, going on my first two mission trips with my youth this last summer (LA and KC) I was deeply moved by watching THEM serve others and simply be examples of God's grace... I was the novice when it came to mission trips and my youth really showed me how it's done! I want to continue the tradition of service and justice and kindness and compassion.
    • Our focus starting off, has been on christian morality in a morally gray world.
    • Our motto this year is Know (God), Grow (in Faith), Go (to serve).
    • This fall we are going through Jesus' parables and getting a deep look of what the Kingdom of God looks like and what that means for our lives.
    • just being hired at a church as the there first full time youth pastor, I am going to do my best to build the program into a more mission/service oriented program. We will begin this approach starting next week!!
    • To kick off the fall, we are doing a church wide series titled "Not a Fan" . Following this series, our mid-week services will titled "Who Do You Say That I Am" and will be focused on different roles and aspects of Jesus. Meanwhile, our life groups will begin a Bible Study in the book of Genesis.
    • B.L.I.T.Z: our september to December theme is Called out and Sent out.
    •  We are focusing on studying other religions as to gain respect for other people. One of those will also be focusing on Christianity and what we may not know about it.
    • This fall we have a small group meeting at a local high school whose focus is subversion. Each week the students have a mission that subtly subverts the strongholds Satan has established in the culture of their school.
    • This year we are going to spend some time looking at what it looks like to follow Jesus in all aspects of our life.
    • Our study is on what it means to have and practice faith; we're interested in applying it concretely to matters such as relationships, peer pressure, parents, sin, and missions.
    • This year's theme is better expressed as a logo Eternal God of Paradox. It is based on Revelation 22:13 "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End." In essence we are looking at paradoxes as understanding our very complex God. Consider that God wants us to be in relationship with him, to know him, and to love him, and yet, we can never fully understand him. This is a paradox. Christ's divinity and simultaneously humanity is a paradox. In our faith, and specifically in the Lutheran faith, we deal constantly with paradox. We as humans are fully sinner and fully saint. How can this be? So it's a different way of learning more about God while knowing we can't fully solve the puzzle. 
    • I'll end with the age old paradox. Can God create a stone so heavy, that God couldn't lift the stone? Attend our class and you'll have an answer (there really is one!)
    • As a new youth leader at this church, I have spent time getting to know the youth during their mission trip and their Sunday night youth groups.They all have such giving and caring hearts! They have recently come up with a name for their group EPIC (Endless Possibilities In Christ) and we are using 1 Timothy 4:12 as our Scripture statement of faith  "Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity." My goal is more of a focus on this Scripture verse and how it ties into thier new group name and how to share their faith by what they do and how they act every day.
    • We will be kicking off our fall with a new theme verse: Luke 24 - the road to Emmaus.  Using this verse as our focus.  Exploring how our hearts might burn as Jesus walks with us and opens scripture to us as we are on our walk.
    • For the very first series for our youth, we called it, "Back2School Blues" - we focus on the different roller coaster of emotions teenagers go through due to family issues (broken, blended, or even healthy families); due to bullying/cyber bullying; peer pressure, not fitting in, etc....some of the emotions we are looking at are "sadness (blue), anger (seeing red), jealousy (green with envy), etc...
    • It's my first fall on the job so we are looking at Jesus life for his message and his method of ministry.
    • We will be focusing on  study about stress and how God can bring restoration, peace and control back to their lives.
    • Since the students go back to school so early here in Mississippi, we are already into our fall study and emphasis.  We have a series going as a whole church called the Journey of the Souls.  We have been exploring the journey we are on together and the different stages and landmarks we find ourselves along the way and how we can grow deeper in our faith.  We are also doing an emphasis on The Kingdom of God and finding Heaven on Earth during our more in-depth serious time.  When the Journey of Souls is over we will be digging deeper on relationships using Len Sweet’s book 11. 
    • For our middle school youth our first series this year is about prayer. Why pray?  Who do we pray to?  When pray?  How do we pray?  Our hope is to give them a strong prayer foundation to start the year off.
    • Our first high school study is going to focus on 2 Timothy - a very exciting book for us to dig into with teens :)Our middle school always starts with the same 4 lessons - who are we? who is God? who is Jesus? and who/what/where is the Holy Spirit?
    • The leadership of our church has asked the congregation to come together next weekend for a “retreat” to discuss and identify the top 3-5 priorities of the church. The church is in a time of exploring how we deepen our ministry and how we respond to the needs of the congregation. One of the major priorities is getting this feedback from the youth: Where do you feel God’s presence in our church? Where do you feel God calling us to be as a church? What things should be a priority for the church? I am excited to see what the youth come up with for this. I think it’s truly exciting to work at a church that puts the youth voice at the top priority! I think youth allow us to see outside of the box sometimes. Where we put a “oh, that would never work”, they don’t. They dream big… and what better way to deepen and to grow than to live into these kinds of BIG ideas!