Wednesday, February 24, 2010

From the Shadows

There are times when Student Ministry feels like a sprint. There are other times when Student Ministry seems like a marathon that really doesn't have a finish line. Over the course of a school year volunteers and group leaders will have highs and lows. There are moments your team will feel like they just climbed Kilimanjaro and others when they will feel like students think they are nothing more than a door mat.

Typically my week has some sort of roller coaster flow to it. One second a student will tell me that their friend is finally coming to them with questions about God, and the next second a parent will be asking me why we haven't had an Air-soft event in the past few months. Sometimes the people questioning or complaining about something are caring and considerate about how they communicate their issue, but a lot of the time they don't even realize how they are coming across.

I'll be honest. There are times that I would like to get off of the roller coaster. It's not always easy to stay balanced. I am sure that similar things take a toll on a lot of our volunteers and group leaders. I really admire their passion and perseverance. It's incredible to see them push through a year full of ups and downs. All that being said I would like to take a minute to share one of our high points that happened this Sunday Night. I hope you will celebrate it with all of us in Student Ministry too.

At the start of this school year there was a Middle School student who was coming to Friday nights at the Crossing and we will call him Danny. We had seen Danny a lot in the previous school year and we had our share of run ins with him as well. He was a guy who was dealing with a lot of different problems that he really didn't know how to handle. There were points we had to pull him aside and talk with him. He could be frustrating at times to say the least.

Our Crossing Staff does a great job and it came to our attention some time in September that Danny had warrant out for his arrest. He hadn't done anything horrendous. He just made a small mistake and missed his court date. On a Friday night we pulled him aside and asked him about it. We told him he needed to do the right thing and go work it out. Danny left in a squad car that night. It was tough on us. That night we committed ourselves to pray for Danny. We also promised Danny that we would follow up with him in a couple of weeks to see how he was doing. We wanted to help him through this.

A few weeks later we went to the address we had in our database for Danny. The house was completely empty. We talked to the neighbors. It seemed that Danny's family had just left abruptly a few days ago. We spent the rest of the day going from park to park and even talking to some of Danny's relatives trying to figure out where he had gone. Our search proved unproductive and the trail went cold. That evening we sent out an email to our church staff, elders, and all of our Student Ministry Volunteers. We wanted everybody to be praying for Danny. We might not have known where he was but Jesus definitely did and we liked that.

That was all that happened until about a month ago. Seemingly out of the shadows Danny reappeared at the Crossing. He told us about where he had moved and what he had been up to. He also told us that he had gone and talked with the judge and everything had been resolved. That was a great night for us at the Crossing. We got to play basketball with him and just catch up with him. We let him know we had been praying for him. He has been at almost each Crossing since that night as well.

We always encourage students who come to the Crossing to take the next step and come to Rel Community. The difference between the Crossing and Rel Community is that the Crossing is a place to come, hang out, and get to know us. At Rel Community, we get together and talk about the person who changed our lives forever, Jesus. Danny never seemed interested in Rel Community, he liked the pick up basketball games at the Crossing.

This Sunday night Danny surprised us again. He and 4 of his friends came to Rel Community. In our groups that night we talked about forgiveness and Matthew 18:21-35. Danny and his friends joined into the conversation. They shared real thoughts and real struggles about forgiveness. After our group time I told Danny that we had been praying for him for a while now because we cared so much about him. His response was, "Thanks. I am really trying to make good decisions."

Last night wasn't the finish line for us or Danny. He still needs to meet Jesus in a life-changing way. In all reality Danny may never come to Rel Community again. He might disappear into the shadows like so many students do. We need to keep praying for him, but something truly incredible did happen on Sunday night. Danny emerged from the shadows to talk about Jesus, and it was our privilege to be able to plant and water seeds in his heart. That's worth celebrating.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Super Bowl Commercial Entry: Middle School Rap

Some of our Middle School Students made this video. I love how creative they were. Now all they need is somebody talented to start mixing beats for them. The only downside to the rap is that it quickly becomes an ear worm that you can't get out of your head. If you see any of the students from this video be sure to let them know how great of a job they did.

Middle School Rap Video from Parkside Students on Vimeo.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Spring and Fall Olympics: For the Common Man

My friends and I had the idea that their should be Olympic Games during the odd years either in the spring or fall. We really cracked ourselves up with the idea, but for the rest of the night it really started growing on us. Here are some of the events that we think would become a staple.

Corn Hole: We believe that it is an outrage that it has been snubbed by the Summer Olympics.

Football: This would obviously be a fall event. We decided that every country besides America would be allowed to have 5 Americans whose names sound foreign. For example, Pierre Thomas could play for France and Chad Ochocinco would play for Mexico. We also think it would be wise for Peyton Manning to be All Time Quarterback.

Trick or Treat-a-Thon: Yet another Fall Event. This would really get good ratings. Competitors would run a normal marathon but recquired to wear a costume and collect 5 pounds of candy, and consume at least 2 pounds of it before crossing the finish line. The sugar crashes before people finished the race would make for epic viewing.

Attic/Garage Cleaning: This would be a spring event that would be both an individual sport and a couples event. The difficulty level would go up if cleaning included the crawl space or if either spouses' inlaws were present at the event.

Leaf Raking: this would be split into two events. A speed event as well as an artistic event. It could possibly even be expanded into Synchronized Raking, but lets not get ahead of ourselves.

Puddle Jumping: Honestly, who didn't just think to themselves, "I think I could win this event?"

Mud Greco-Roman Wrestling: This spring event would become even more interesting if we hid a few alligators in the mud bog.

Black Friday Shopping: This would be a controversial Fall Event. It would be pretty gruesome as well. I can just see the East Germany Athletes juicing up for this event.

Allergy Shot Put: Athletes would be given a Shot Put covered in all sorts of pollen, mold and other allergens. The athlete would then have to toss the shot put as far as possible without sneezing. A foul would be called on every sneeze and would disqualify the throw. We will need some time to develop a way to test to see if athletes are on Zyrtec or Nasonex.

We are still trying to think of good locations for the Spring and Fall Olympics, but we know for sure Chicago is not an option. Maybe someplace like Boston for the fall games. The opening ceremonies for the games could be held on the same day as the time changes. It would be easier to remember to spring forward or fall back an hour if Bob Costas reminded us as we watched 300 trained dancers form a huge moving spring flower.

This is just the begining though. There is so much we could do with this. What have we not thought of?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Guest Post: Aaron Adams

Aaron is the champion of our Middle School Ministry. He helps out in all sorts of areas and ways. He is currently attending Cincinnati Christian University. Besides being a nice guy he also works at Woodland Lakes Christian Camp, loves sports, and is a HUGE Ohio State Buckeye Fan. I asked him to write a guest post for this blog about all he has learned in his past year of serving in Parkside Student Ministry.

I’ve been fully involved week in and week out in student ministry for close to a year. I’ve gone on all the retreats both middle school and high school, I’m leading the middle school guys rel community group. Through all of this I have learned an incredible amount and have become hungry for more! Student ministry is something that I’m very passionate about, I honestly can’t see myself doing anything else from this point on. Where God will lead me I don’t know but I sure hope it is leading students into a life changing relationship with Jesus. I’m surrounded by so many wonderful men and women at Parkside that have helped develop and grow me to be the best student minister I can be. I went into ministry already knowing it isn’t what most people think. My dad is a pastor so I already had an idea of what I was going to face, but doing it myself has really opened up my eyes to what ministry is all about. It’s not just coming in to the office and sitting at your desk all day, it’s not just praying with people, it’s not just playing dodge ball with students. It’s on a much deeper level, yea I do all those things but it’s not a Monday-Friday job, its constant. But with that being said I’ve come to love that. I’ve come to where I have developed so many wonderful friendships with students that I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world. I care deeply about each and every student whether they know that or not. With all this learning that has happened this past year it has also forced me to grow deeper in my own relationship with Jesus Christ, and that is something that is amazing for me. To be able to have a stronger connection to Jesus is remarkable. That has enabled be to disciple students in our youth group or just friends of mine. I can’t thank the people that have poured into my growing as a student minister and my own spiritual life enough!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Super Bowl Commercial Videos

Our Student Ministry had a commercial contest with our students this year. All of our students got involved and did a great job. It was a lot of fun. Maybe over the next few weeks I'll upload some of the commercials the students came up with to share with everyone. I think you'll be impressed.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Knee Replacements

My dad got his right knee replaced on Monday. It is incredible what doctors are able to do. The surgery went great. We really appreciated all the support and prayers. It is amazing though that he got a completely new knee on Monday and he is already home on Wednesday afternoon. My dad and I were talking about the replacement a few weeks ago, and his new knee should last him the rest of his life. Its just great what doctors and surgeons can do with the creative minds God has given them. Here are some of the highlights from the surgery and recover:
  • While my dad was quickly succumbing to the anesthesia he began singing Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da.
  • He also told the person who was taking him into surgery that he wanted to go fast.
  • I got to spend Monday morning tellings stories and being silly with my mom, my sister, and Alicia.
  • My brother texted us from his college in Indiana to ask how the surgery was going. When we called him after the surgery was over at 10:00AM he was still in bed (That's still early in college right?).
  • When Jamie came and visited us after the surgery my dad was in a hilarious mood (not from the medicine, he was just being himself). And we were all rolling on the floor. BTW my mom totally out of the blue commented that Jamie and I could be brothers.
  • My dad and I have gotten the chance to talk a lot football recruiting, the Super Bowl, and LOST.
  • We all have been able to see the numerous ways that God has been involved with all of our worries and fears with the surgery/recovery.
  • I got to have lunch with my two little nephews today and run around the Kenwood Mall with them.