new advenutres...

It's been about a week since my big announcement on my blog. I am super excited about what God has placed in my life right now and I can't say it won't come without stress, hard work, and determination. I am ready for some new adventures.

This summer has been a crazy busy one with me youth group. We have gone on three trips, outings and everything else in between. There really has been much of a down moment. This past week, however, might highlight my summer. We went to St. Augustine Beach, Florida to a retreat put on by Ignition Retreats. There were three total churches there and  86 total people. It was small and intimate, but God was definitely on the move.

You see, God has placed on my heart that this group that I am currently leading is ready for service. We have done a lot of service and mission projects already, however, we are ready to go global! That being said, I took 12 students on this retreat. Sure there was the share of drama and luckily no one got injured other than being burnt to extra crispy by our dear friend the Sun, but we really had some great fellowship and some amazing worship time.

During the trip, we also offered work shops. This was a place where students could go and talk with one of the leaders about certain subjects. I decided to take on struggling Christians. I felt, that since I have had my share of struggles lately that I would talk and help some of these students. Little did I know, one of my own students would later accept Christ.

For me, and according to the Bible, one student who has had a very troubled past finally asked for help for the first time in his life and asked Christ to forgive him of his sins and to come into his heart and be Lord of his life. To me, this is the most successful story of the trip. There may have been other students who did not say they became a believer or not, but I know that Heaven rejoiced over this one.

It has been a while since I have done something that exhilarating. When I finally sat down and talked with this student, he was crying and I was too! This really got my juices of evangelism flowing. I am ready for the fall. One to start getting back into a normal schedule again. Two: to start preparing these students for preaching and teaching the Gospel to ANYONE! And last but not least I am ready to see what God has in store for my group this fall.

What things are you preparing for your ministry this fall? Or do you plan on making any changes to the youth programming? Tell me your thoughts!

losing it...

Have you ever come to work, sit down ready to work and then you realize that you feel like you have lost your ministry? Today, I sort of have that sense. Maybe it's because I got selfish. I didn't yield control over to God more. I am not sure what or where this feeling came from.

Sometimes in youth ministry, we can get really discouraged about things. For me, there is a myriad of things going on at once. I have a hard time saying no to things when it comes to church work. It piles up. Specially since I have not been in my office for almost a month! Life has been somewhat difficult and different for me when it comes to Summer Youth Ministry.

I will always know that you have those dedicated few that go on trips and come to Bible studies. I love these students and adore them for their dedication to God and to the youth ministry of my church. However, sometimes we can feel like we have run out of steam. The engine is slowing down.

This is where the network of youth ministry comes in handy. I feel like I can ask for prayers. I don't normally do something like this, but I feel like it would be appropriate. At the same time, below, list some things I can pray about for your ministry or even yourself.

I came back from vacation last week and I can tell you that I feel refreshed. Somehow, I have hit a plateau and I am praying to God this morning that I relinquish control back to Him. I can't handle the fullness of the reigns that I tried to take from Him.

Do you ever feel this way? What are some things you do in the summer to keep momentum going? What do you do to help build relationships? How is your prayer time with God and your devotion time with God? Leave comments, prayer requests, prayers, or ideas down below!

fallen...

The month of June has been VERY long for me. There was always something going on with our youth ministry or the church and somehow the youth ministry was roped into it! It was very tiring but I am so glad to be a part of it. It showed me how much my students are willing to serve and how much they love the church they are in. I am tired, but refreshed after my short vacation to the beach where I did a WHOLE lot of nothing! I am ready to get things going and ready for a lot more ministry....that is until I got a punch in the gut late last week.

I was sitting on the veranda reading a book and I got a call from my best friend. I knew he was on a mission trip with his youth group, so something must be wrong. I listened to his voice mail he left me and almost dropped my phone. There was a youth pastor, whom we both knew very well, and he was ARRESTED FOR CHILD MOLESTATION! This youth pastor was in a relationship with a 15 year old girl. On Monday, June 27, he was arrested early in the morning at the Atlanta airport, RIGHT AFTER returning from a mission trip.

I can't say that I know all the details of the investigation because I do not. I am simply telling of what I do know from media sources and outlets. Now, this youth pastor and I go back a ways. We were not the best of friends, but we knew of each other and could probably pick each other out of a crowd of people. However, when I heard this, my heart sank! This youth pastor has a family, a wife and 2 kids. The sadder thing is, this was described as a relationship with this 15 year old girl. This required effort and methodical action.

So here I am, on July 4th, the birthday of our nation and I am sad. When I see how this can happen to people we know, I am also thinking about the freedom the Christ offers us in His grace and love. Satan is looking at this and is thinking that the fall of this youth minister, the sin that was/is in his life, the way the nation looks at the freedoms we are given and he is laughing. Satan looks at situations like this and dances because another one who works for Christ has gone down because sin eeked into their life.

I have not talked to this youth pastor or his family about what is going on or what happened and I imagine I can't for a LONG time. However, my first reaction was anger. I was angry because of some of the things this youth pastor said not to long ago about others. He was very condescending and he had this holier than thou type of attitude. I was mad. Now looking back, I am now more sad.

I feel for this youth pastor. I have no right to judge him for his actions, only show love to him and pray for him about what is going on. I can only pray for his wife and kids and the STRUGGLE they are going through. I can imagine the hurt and judgement that they may be receiving. I know that I too have fallen from grace. I have had my share of downfalls in my life. Mine were not too long either.

I want us as youth pastors to do a few things:

First, we need to try to guard our hearts from sin such as this youth pastor friend of mine. It can effect ANYONE and Satan sees this as a victory.

Second, we must try to find ways have a heart for those that sin and point them to Jesus. When we see that others are hurting we can show them the same love that Christ shows us. However, we must NEVER put ourselves in any kind of situation that would cause anyone to think something bad. Always guard yourself and protect your family, yourself, and your church.

Finally, we must realize that we are sinners saved by grace and that we will get caught in sin again; but Jesus will always win in the end, because it all points back to the cross.

Sin can grab the best of us. We are given MANY freedoms to talk how we want, think how we want, worship how we want, and do almost anything we want. We live in the Freest nation in the Free World. Christ has given us many options, but we must always turn back to Christ.

Does sin still grab you today, while leading your youth ministry? What is the biggest sin you see your students struggling with? How do you help students deal with sin or things going on in their lives? Are you protecting yourself, your family, and your church when counseling other students?
Leave your comments below!
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