Thursday, August 31, 2006

welcomed but fully connected?

I have been thinking the last few days about my part in the ministry here at my church. I feel very welcomed and accepted. I feel like I am part of the team, but to what extent? I catch myself feeling like an outsider. Feeling as though I do not belong. Feeling like I am not ready for this. Yet, I feel that things are already happening. I sense God using me to help facilitate changes that draw people to Him.

Are my feelings of being unconnected coming from some insecurity? Are they coming from within me or are they from outside me?

I get the sense that I still have apprehensions about leadership, based on my past experiences. I do not want to assume I will be treated the same way. I have actually been shown I won't be, based on conversations I have already had. Yet, in the back of my mind I wonder. Are people being honest with me? Am I doing the right things? Am I doing what God is calling me to in this particular situation? Have I been open and thoughtful or cold and careless?

All questions that I hope bring me to a stronger faith. Questions I want answers for (though I wonder if I'm ready for them). Questions I pray lead me to a place of stronger, more effective ministry.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Youth Kickoff

Last night was our youth kickoff for this year. (Though the youth meetings don't start back up til the 10th)

We had a good time. Planned on doing some swimming and scavenger hunting, but all week it looked like impending rain. How uneasy it is to have a plan B that doesn't cost any money (since our plan A, mentioned earlier, didn't cost anything). It rained during church and a little during the day, but not enough to stop the kickoff (praise God!). This was the first kickoff I've done where we split the jr. high and high school up for part of it. One group went to one house and the other to someone else's house. Then after eating and swimming, we came together at a third location for worship and smores. The teen actually enjoyed the scavenger hunt (I was a little surprised at this). They had to find ingrediants for their pizzas. Whatever they found, they could use - including plates and drinks. Some groups hit jackpots (one got homemade pizza sauce and oreos) and some just got the basics. It was a little tough to see that a few houses got hit by 6 or all 7 groups. Meaning they were asked 7 times if they had any shredded cheese or plates.

Overall the night went well. It was nice to be there and have a part, but not be the "go to" guy. The youth ministry team leaders were the "go to" people and that freed me up to spend more time with the youth and build relationships. Only a few snags in the night. One involved bathing suits on girls (at the other house I wasn't at) and one involved not having driving directions. We were on our way back from the final destination and I was supposed to be following the other church van (b/c I had no - and I mean NO - idea where I was). Well, let's just say everyone else had gone home by time we got back to church. We were not even out of the driveway and the other van was already what seemed like a mile down the road. This is out in the country, with no street lights. Well, we lost them and had to "find our own way." We got back safely, but a little frasseled.

A little different, but I think it is part of the memory making moments we want to provide the youth, right?

One other good note - I got the "go ahead" for a new computer. Though, I still don't know what that means. Do I go and get the one I want (knowing I will want something that will last a few years) or do I go and get the one I can get by with? I'm going to try for the "one I want" as long as I have justification for its use.

Friday, August 25, 2006


I am beginning to find out that tradition plays a huge part in why things happen they way the do around here. We are promoting the youth on Sept. 3 and starting up youth meetings Sept 10. (First, I don't know why they stop during the summer, but they do - probably won't be like this next summer) They don't start until Sept. 10, because back when school didn't start until then there was no reason to start meetings before school. But now, school starts sooner. Why not change the start date to coincide with the start of school?

The kids have already been in school for a week now and they don't get promoted to the next grade for two more weeks. How frustrating this must be.

I asked in a meeting this week about why we have "age appropriate" adult classes (not that they are bad) and was told that this is how it has always been done. Is everyone too afraid to change things? Is there a reason to change it? Does anyone even think about that possibility?

Am I trying to cause a problem where there is none? Or am I hopefully being that voice that makes people think about why we do what we do? I pray it is #2. I want to be the person who says, "Hey, let's step back and look at what is working and what is not working. Let's see how we can make this ministry the best it can be today (not the best it was 25 years ago)"

Is this a problem that comes up whenever you start a new ministry? Or is it more about the location of my ministry?

Monday, August 21, 2006


Yesterday I got to preach. It was the second time I've preached here. The first one was the "trial sermon", so this was the first official sermon as a hired staff.

I was nervous. Not sure if it was actually nervousness or if it was a yearning to preach and say what God was laying on my heart. Either way, it caused me to work to make sure I did the best job I could.

I tried a new format for me. I tried to use less notes (going for none). I tried to be more personal and approachable as a preacher.

From what I heard, people seemed to feel they needed to hear the message. God used the words to affect people. Now, my prayer is that they take it to heart and do it. :)

I'm not ready to preach again just yet - still no desire to do it every week. But I feel God has given me the ability to present a message and make it understandable.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

minor frustrations

I need to transition slowly. I have to not come in and change everything. I can't fix the problems I see overnight. I shouldn't push my thoughts and ideas onto the people who have been overseeing this ministry for the past few years.

All this I know. But lately it has been tough.

For example, I had a conversation with the youth leaders about changing some things up for our PM classes. We are going to change some things (like keeping points for doing certain things and getting prizes for accumulating a certain point amount). But then the other night at a meeting for our teachers, it was brought up about doing the memory verses just like we always have. this would mean that the children's minister would pick a verse for all ages and the older kids would get a longer version... The verse will have nothing to do with what we are studying and probably not much relevance to their life. So, why would they want to memorize it? They didn't even flinch at the fact that this person was no longer overseeing the jr./sr. high - that I am. But alas is it a battle I want to fight right now? I don't think so. There are far greater things I want to implement. Like having a scope/sequence for what we teach (instead of just coming up with a lesson every week or using the Serendipity Bible if you don't have one ready.) And instituting monthly meetings. These are, in my opinion, far greater to be fighting for. The other more minor issues will and can be worked out later.

Friday, August 11, 2006

starting a new

I have decided to try to post on my transition into a new ministry. Yes, I have been here for about 2 months already, but there is a lot more to come :)

So Starting today I will be posting thoughts/ideas/remarks about how my transition into this new ministry goes. Curious to see how it compares to the first ministry. Will the things I learned over the past 5 years make a major difference on how I start this time? I sure hope so!