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Tag: youth (Page 1 of 2)

Blast From the Past

One of my favorite Gmail extensions is Xoopit.  It sits on top of Gmail and scans for file attachments, then makes them easily searchable at their site or within Gmail.  One of my favorite features is the summary email each week.  It shows you what you’ve received that week, but it also shows you something from this week a year ago.

Here’s what came to me this week last year, from Darcy:

Teen Poster

Made me chuckle.

First Trinity’s Got Talent

Wonderful wonderful evening at the Spaghetti Dinner/Talent Show this evening.  We’ll end up with less money this year than last because we didn’t have any silent auction items, but we sold about 20 tickets more than last year based on early estimates.  More importantly, that’s even more people who got to experience our awesomely talented youth.

The acts included:

  • Laura – Stand-up Bass
  • Jen – Read a poem she wrote
  • Shannon – Clarinet
  • Kelsey – Singing
  • Luke – Electric Guitar
  • Sarah – Viola
  • Jennie – Tap Dancing
  • Kay – Guitar/Singing
  • Jake/Anna – Cello/Violin

It was a wide variety of acts and all were just a joy to behold.  I don’t have any video of the event this year, but I think I saw Sue out in the crowd with her fancy new flip video thing.  Maybe she’ll post some for us to enjoy.  🙂

Discipling Youth

I think part of discipling youth is teaching them how to use their gifts at church in meaningful ways.  We’ve had youth acolytes forever, but there’s so much more out there.  Here are some of the exciting things youth are doing (or will be doing soon!) at First Trinity:

  • Jon W., Abby, Anna and Joe regularly provide the tech services at our 7 p.m. Saturday worship service.  Joe is also helping on Sundays.
  • Jon W. is one of the prayer partners at Sunday worship.
  • Jon B., Annie, and Jake M. all play/sing in worship bands on a regular basis.
  • Megan and Laura have played/sung in the past.
  • 19 youth have signed up to work with our new youth band that is starting up.  Many of those were complete surprises to me.
  • 2 youth each Sunday from the 7th-8th grade Sunday School class will be helping to teach younger kids (Kindergarten and under-2’s).  20 in all have signed up so far.
  • Anna and Kelsey (plus Samuel, who isn’t a youth yet but will be one day) are on my PIT crew.

Additionally, we want students to be in the Word on a regular basis.  Some fun things going on there:

  • 6 youth have signed up to be in rooted this year so far. 
  • Sue’s small group at Cornerstone has committed to interacting with each other about the One Minute Bible for Students on a daily basis through text messages and instant message.  Loved hearing how she is connecting with her students!
  • A parent recently liked the One Minute Bible their student received so much that she asked to get a copy for herself.  They were working through it together at home, which turned her on to the resource.
  • We have a lab-based Sunday School series coming up in the winter that helps students learn how to be in the Word, pray, give and worship.

It’s exciting to see what God is doing in the midst of our young people.  What a joy!

Youth Talent Show Video

A while back, our youth put on a talent show as part of a fundraiser for Workcamp.  I was cleaning out some space on my hard drive and came across the video recordings we did.  I’m working on getting them formatted for YouTube so you can see the performances if you missed it.  Here’s the first one:

Megan was the first to go that night, so the sound quality is a little off for the first 15-30 seconds.  After that, we seem to have pretty good audio.  This was our first real attempt at recording these types of performances for video.  Hope you like it!

We Are Not The World

Warning: Long post ahead! We’re considering a dress code policy for youth ministry. It could become emotionally charged. It’s difficult, but it’s important. Read on for a lengthy, back and forth look at the problem.

I’m struggling with what to do with regards to a clothing policy for student ministry. The issue has come up as a part of preparing for our Workcamp to Piqua. Just a sampling of some of the questions our leadership team has to consider:

  • Should we have a policy?
  • How detailed should it be?
  • How do we enforce it?
  • What are the consequences for breaking it?
  • Does it turn kids away from a possibly life-changing experience at Workcamp, either because we have one or because we don’t?
  • Is this an altar worth dying on?
  • How do we balance the culture of today with the timeless truths of Scripture?

Is forcing a dress code on youth any different than how the Pharisees acted? Jesus called them hypocrites and compared them to whitewashed tombs for appearing to follow the law outwardly while not following it in their hearts. Youth may keep our dress code, but resent it inwardly. Is that doing them or us any good? Is it akin to legislating morality? We may win the battle, but lose the war in the end. We need to be in the world, not isolated from it, so maybe that means inviting people to come as they are.

And yet, we are not the world. We are to be in the world, but not of it.

Paul told Timothy:

Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.

We are to set an example for other believers in the area of purity. More than that, our body is not our own. We should treat it with respect not only in how we dress, but also how we use it and how we feed and care for it. Women are called to dress modestly, possibly because guys have a hard time thinking pure thoughts. In the end, purity and modesty matter to God, so they should matter to us.

God does not want empty sacrifice, but rather a broken heart. Do we present the dress code as a Law to follow while at youth trips and say you can’t come unless you agree to dress to our standards while there? Will youth make that meaningless (to God) sacrifice and still participate in the trip?

Or, do we set a minimum (and I think we almost have to), but hold up the high standard and let youth and parents choose to keep it or not? If you don’t want to go beyond the minimum, fine, but know that God has something more for you. You can still come as you are, but know that we want more for you as well. Maybe it’s enough if youth just start considering that God might have higher standards for how they dress and act at this point in their faith-walk.

We aren’t asking youth to dress modestly because we’re no fun. God made them beautiful and living a pure life means caring for and protecting that beauty for their future spouses. It’s about helping our young men, who have surprisingly little else on their minds than sex at this age sometimes. But it’s also about not clouding our message to other believers and, more importantly, to the world. I’m reminded of John’s words:

He must increase, but I must decrease.

Immodest dress is all about drawing attention to ourselves, which distracts from our message. If we are going to share the Gospel with the world, we must decrease and Jesus must increase. And now we get to the heart of the matter and perhaps the answer to our dilemma. Is Workcamp about having a good time with friends, traveling to a new part of the country and enjoying an after-event together? Or is it about bringing God’s Word in physical form to the people of Piqua, Ohio, loving on them and being Christ to them? If the former, we’re no different than anyone else in the world and it doesn’t matter how we dress or act or think. But if it’s the latter, then He must increase, but we must decrease.

I don’t know what the final policy will be. I hate that we have to consider setting one at all, but we can’t just ignore those parts of God’s Word. This is part of living in a world where God’s Word is counter-cultural. It could be an unpopular decision for us either way. But that’s part of being in leadership.

Share your thoughts on either side in the comments. Remember, we’re all on the same team, even though we might have different views on the subject. I’m thankful we’re at a place where we can speak the truth in love, looking to do what’s best for our students and sharing the Gospel.


I’ve said it before.  I think our youth are super talented.  Two examples this evening:

  1.  I just got home from a coffee house at the corner of Clarence Center and Goodrich.  It was a cozy little joint with a homey atmosphere.  I was there to see Lauren’s artwork.  Tonight was her senior art show at the coffee house.  I’m not a great judge of art, but even I know that this was good stuff.  Cindy took me around to show me all the pieces, beaming the whole time as proud mothers do.  It’s going to be there for a few weeks, so if you are out that way (or fancy a quaint little coffee shop), be sure to stop by and check out Lauren’s Work.  (We’ll also have some at the Spaghetti dinner on April 11)
  2. Tonight was opening night for the Kenmore Middle School musical, School House Rock.  Annie and Jennie are the leads.  I’ll be there on Saturday evening for the show.  Annie sings with our band on Sunday morning, and they’ve done a duet together for our Christmas program one year.  I’m sure it will rock the house (poor pun intended).  Tickets are $5, available at the door, if you’d like to see it.

I love seeing our youth explore their God-given talents and grow into the young men and women God wants them to be.  One day, I’d love to see a ministry at First Trinity that would help youth develop their talents and use them in worship and ministry amongst us.  My first goal (a big leap!) is to find a college student willing to organize a youth band for Sunday mornings at Sunday School and occasionally at worship.  I just need $5,000 and the right person.  I’m praying God drops something in my lap.  🙂  Now I’m wondering if I need to also look at starting an art school…

Our Talented Youth

Our next Workcamp Fundraiser is going to be a Spaghetti Dinner with Youth Talent Show and Art Auction.  It will take place on Friday, April 11, with dinner being served starting at 6 p.m. and the show starting around 7.  I’ve always felt our youth are super talented, and this is your chance to see if I’m right!  🙂

We sent the letter out to the youth asking for them to volunteer this past Wednesday.  By Thursday evening, we already had two acts signed up.  Kelsey M. is going to be singing for us.  Katie G. is going to do an Irish Dance.  Should be a fun evening!

Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for kids 5-12.  See me if you’d like to purchase tickets or pick them up at church starting Easter Weekend.

A Heart For Youth

I got to spend the better part of two hours sharing with our OPUS (Older Persons Up to Something) group about our student ministry today. I loved my time with them. I love talking about our youth and what we’re doing in ministry with them, and the OPUS gang loved to hear about it. Despite the difference of age, they have a real heart to see our youth nurtured and cared for by the church.

Their love for youth is why our church has been around since 1839. We’ve never stopped caring for the young people of our congregation. Just like the “traditional” family unit, we’re one generation in the church from losing the faith. These men and women have a passion for our kids and love to hear what we’re doing on their behalf in ministry. I wish I could make our youth understand how much their church truly loves them. A great day!

Parenting the Internet Generation

Almost 2 months ago now, I taught a course at St. John’s Lutheran’s PTL on Internet Safety. At the time, I thought it would be good our parents to hear as well, but my schedule was so busy that I never got around to eating that frog scheduling the class. We’ll be having it at First Trinity on February April 22 at 7 p.m. We’ll be covering:

  • Instant Messaging
  • Cell Phones
  • Social Networking (Facebook, MySpace, Etc.)
  • Music/Filesharing

We’ll focus primarily on what the technologies are and how kids are using them, as well as what it means for their spiritual development. We’ll also have some tips for parents as we explore the topics. If you don’t have kids but want to know about these technologies, there’s plenty of good stuff there for you as well.


In case you haven’t heard, teens like using the internet.  Some statistics from Pew Internet (Full Report):

  • 93% of youth are online
  • 94% of their parents are online
  • 88% of teens think tech devices make their lives easier
  • 69% of parents say the same
  • In 2004, 67% of parents said the internet has been a good thing for their children.  In 2007, only 59% say the same
  • 65% of parents report checking what websites their children viewed while online
  • 74% can correctly identify whether or not their teen is involved in social networking sites like MySpace or Facebook

I’m going to be teaching a class on parenting the internet generation for St. John’s Lutheran School‘s Parent Teacher League in January.  I’m interested in what topics parents would like to know more about in this area.  Leave your suggestions below in the comments.  I’ll periodically be blogging about this topic up until the class, so look for more updates in future weeks.  All entries will be tagged with “CyberParent” for easy searching.  Questions you have or resources you’ve found helpful are both beneficial to me!

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