We live in a world of sin and imperfection. I am a child of God striving each day to live out my calling. Welcome to my blog where you get the inside scoop of this Child of God's life!
"Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith, and in purity." - 1 Timothy 4:12

Monday, January 21, 2013

Perkins School of Youth Ministry Recap

This post is my way to decipher through everything that happened last week. I had an incredible week at Perkins School of Youth Ministry in Richardson, Texas. I have been back for a few days and my head is still reeling with all of the amazingness that happened. So I have decided to take a break from finding my office to sit down and think through last week. This is going to be a long post.

Thoughts from My brain!

This past week was incredible in so many ways. When I left for this conference I was exhausted on so many levels. It was definitely time to do something for me, and I am really glad I didn't talk myself out of going. I had the chance to catch up with one of my friends that I had allowed myself to lose touch with, I just let myself use her living in Alaska as the excuse for not continuing to keep her in my life. We realized we did it mutually, so we are going to try to be better at that. We were roommates for the trip and we both have a lot of introvert tendencies so we found a lot of comfort in each other and were able to have quite a few amazing conversations. We managed, with the Lord's help of course, to help each other decipher through a lot of feelings and thoughts, we were able to help each other open the door again to what God is really calling us to do with our lives. My calling really is youth ministry and hers really is missions. It is funny how we can know this so securely and then start to doubt because of the chaos of our daily lives. I met some awesome new youth pastors to the Kansas West Conference. Our YES meeting dynamic changed drastically after this last week. It was also really good for me to spend an entire week with people in ministry that are actually my own age. Sometimes I struggle being so much younger than everyone I work with, these people got me on a whole different level. I felt like I could be me, and listen to their stories and advice and give some with out feeling awkward about age. Seriously age is just a number, but it really does affect a lot of interactions with people. I also was able to catch up with my friend that moved to Texas when she got married, that was good too. 

Spiritually I was closer to God this last week than I have been in a long time. It is amazing to me how easy it is to allow myself to become distant from my creator. I get into the cycle of, I do all of this for my job that I forget to do it for me. I took a workshop on Self Care and honestly it was the best thing I could have done. I left before this conference incredibly close to burn out. I look back on the pure chaos of the last year and it really makes sense why I am so exhausted all of the time. My goal for 2013 was to do something fun for me this year (I meant that in a big way, like a cool trip or something) but now I realize that I need to do something for me every single day. I have decided to start and end my day with scripture, I used to be really, really good about spending time with God but I have gotten away from it, so back to that I go. I really want to spend 30 minutes to an hour every day at work, reading. Part of my job is staying educated and that can't be done without reading, and I love to read, so I will start reading education books again (there is a large enough gap between grad school and now so my brain can handle it). I need to go back to the way I know God speaks to me and that is through music. I have allowed myself to walk away from that incredible connection and that is not ok. Lyrics from songs are a huge part of my relationship with God and I have stopped seeking that, I am actually really disappointed in myself for allowing this to happen. I realized something that was always in the back of my mind, I am just managing my ministry, I'm not living it, and I'm not enjoying it, I have allowed it to become a job and that ends here. This is my passion, my livelihood, my desire, and where my heart is. So I cannot allow it to be just a job, this is who I am. Things are about to change.

One other major thing this conference allowed me to do is to appreciate my education. I have master's degree that I just shove under the table and do not allow myself to be proud of. It was really hard work, and I did it in about 8 months (which wasn't the smartest idea) and it came at the most perfect time in my life, and I think that pain that surrounds the day of graduation has allowed me to write it off as just some classes and that thing I did. But I am 23 years old with a Master's degree and I should be proud of that fact. I was able to talk to other youth pastors this week and promote the program and it really allowed me to accept and appreciate my accomplishment. Also, I have decided I want to become Certified in Youth Ministry, and my Master's degree covers all of the classes needed for that, so I just cut that process down, and the application is sitting here on my desk ready to be filled out. So here is to allowing myself to appreciate me, and to be proud of me, and the things that God has brought into my life and allowed me to do. I am going to work on not brushing those things off anymore. God is good, and the ways He shows that to me, and uses me to do His work are not meant to be kept to myself or swept under the rug. It is time for me to start living this amazing calling that I have been given!

Notes from the conference:

Our keynote speaker was Steve Rankin, which was amazing in and of itself. I met Steve when he stepped in as the interim pastor at St. Paul UMC back in 2009. The chance to hear him speak again was something I needed.

Sermon notes: A Bleak Situation, A Blessed Opportunity

  • Ministry is Relational - we learn by watching
  • How serious do you take yourself in youth ministry? - there is not a lot of status in ministry
  • These are tough times to be in ministry. - very few people understand the gravity of what you do in the lives of young people.
  • We are at risk of losing a generation!
  • ~The Lost History of Christianity~ (book to read)
  • There are places on this earth that no longer have a church, and they once had a thriving church.
  • Moralistic Therapeutic Deism - Good - Happy - Believe in God
  • If you don't take yourself seriously as a youth minister, start!
  • How do you help your kids think when they are doing 3 things at the same time on the computer?
  • Goal: To shape spiritually mature and growing young people (this was poorly paraphrased, sorry)
  • 1 Chronicles 12:32 - Men who understood the times. 
  • What goes on in your context that helps you understand your ministry?
    • Conflicting information
    • Kids are searching for framework and are frustrated with the church's passivity - Accountability
  • Accountability vs. Judgement
    • Wide gap between parents and kids culturally.
  • ~The Triumph of Christianity~ (book to read)
    • Simple Transparent Witness
  • 1 Peter 1:1-6; 2:9-10; 4:12-13
    • Share in the suffering o f Christ
  • If God has called you, He has anointed you.
  • Ephesians 1:9-10; 2:13-15; 4:7, 11-16
  • You don't have to be flawless, be prudent & wise.
  • You must teach!
  • You must be a practical scholar!
Pre-Teen Ministry Workshop - Led by Rod Hocott
  • We get so far away from them we forget who they are.
  • The Basics
    • The Senior Pastor is the main youth pastor of any local church.
    • Parent Support & Involvement
    • Have a working leadership team/youth council
    • Committed adult volunteers
    • Communicate, communicate, communicate
  • Finding a sense of belonging
  • Need a place to claim their identity as a Christian
  • They don't care what you know until they know you care!
  • Godly Play - Interactive Lessons
  • So what?... does it have to do with you?
  • "If parents are for you who can be against you?" - Katie Edwards
    • Parents are our partners
    • Parents provide transportation
    • Parents have influence
    • Parents help shape your ministry
    • Parents have stuff you need.
  • ~Middle School Ministry Made Simple ~ by Kurt Johnson (book to read)
  • Parents of Adolescence Class
  • Parent Council
  • ~Active Parenting~ (book to read)
  • Getting Parents On board
    • Keep them informed
    • Know them as allies, not enemies
    • Let them know they are always welcome to visit your ministry
    • Act your age
    • Use them, don't abuse them!
    • Show appreciation
  • We are in the relationship business
  • Volunteers, give them time constraints so you can let them go if you need to.
  • Pick the battles to fight, so you can win the war
  • Avoid burn out - Share the ministry
  • ~iPhone Contract~ (article to read)
  • Find the right Curriculum
    • Theologically Sound
    • Fit with UM theology
  • Mandalas
  • Worship Lyric Videos
  • ~Created by God~ (book)
Tim & Tim Notes (these two led Bible Study every morning, they are pretty incredible)
  • In the beginning, God!
  • The elements that were in Genesis are still here today!
  • Creation happens every day.
  • We know darkness and we know chaos, it is part of our story.
  • All that is, is contained in God. So there is no place where we can go that God is not.
  • Jesus saved you, to send you to Hell. 
  • Even in the darkness and the unknowing God is there.
  • We are living in an age where technology is advancing so rapidly that we cannot keep up.
  • We put on our stories before we put on our clothes.
  • ~Textweek.com~ (cool resource)
  • The Devil is the dark side of us.
  • Luke 4:1-30
  • Laterally Luke (from Textweek)
    • Each morning he "shaves the Devil", he respects the Devil is real instead of using him as an excuse.
  • The three areas of temptation are the three main areas of sin
  • They read standing, preached/taught sitting.
  • "Churches strive for mediocrity and reach it. Are we succumbing to the temptation of giving less than our best to our creator?" - ?
  • As we prepare students for 2025, these three things need to be in classrooms:
    • The ability to talk to one another
    • Technology
    • Absence of the teacher
  • Go to the margins of society

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