WHAT A BEAUTIFUL DAY! I didn't even need a sweatshirt this morning!
Good morning! Exit 89 was tons of fun. This first week was designed to help the incoming freshmen understand what the high school flow is like, and we talked about the things that our group values. We played some quality 9-square and I think the night accomplished what it intended to. We only had a few of our incoming friends, but i hope that next week we see a bigger turn out!
Thanks for keeping up with everything that we have going on!! If you have any questions, feel free to let me know!
If you had told me that I would someday cancel a youth group event in mid-April because of cold weather......I would have laughed at you.
And I laughed at myself for believing the hype and cancelling when it was just fine at 7:30 when the rain was supposed to be pouring down. AND THEN all of our local school districts collectively lost their minds and cancelled school on Monday. I felt loads better about cancelling Exit 89 then :)
So next week will be the first Exit 89 at the regular time slot, and we will just pretend like we pushed the dates back a week. Sorry if the cancellation this week caused any issues, and I'll see you all next week!
Good morning parents!
This is just a friendly update from the office!
Next week we will be starting a new question in Sunday school and having Exit 89 during the IMPACT time slot! Every student from incoming freshmen to graduating seniors is invited!
As the school year begins to wind down we are excited to keep dreaming bigger and bigger things for the youth here at FRCZ. I'll make sure to keep you all in the loop as things develop!
If your student would like to be involved with the Chicago leadership development trip, we still have some spots open!
Also, we would still love to have you sign up for a Sunday in the Summer! You can see more about that here!
Thanks again for your support!
Good morning friends!
This past week really came rushing up on me. It only struck me a week ago that our last "official" IMPACT was going to be the 25th! It feels like this schoolyear has absolutely flown past. No worries, though, we will keep going right after spring break with some of our unofficial goodness :)
Sunday school was a great end to a hard question. We made sure that there weren't any lingering questions and finished up reading the last two little fictional opinions. I received really positive feedback about all the things that we tried this year! The question box was a fantastic addition, and the students have asked for even more opportunities to ask anonymous questions about anything!
Speaking of suggesting new things, we spent some of the teaching time slot during IMPACT talking about social media, and the rest was spent debriefing the year while eating some quality Vitales pizza. We talked about all the things that we loved, and the things that weren't our favorite. We talked to the seniors and the freshmen, and everyone in between to make sure that people felt like they were being heard and that the program was working as intended.
This is a picture of what our brainstorm board looked like at the end of the night, and I'm happy to say that most of the "bad" things are on me and can be easily changed!
Sunday school is going to keep going strong after Easter and Spring break with our can I ask that series. When we finish up that book, we are hoping to grab some of the questions that the students have and break them down in a similar format. A question/discussion based Sunday school format was something the students seemed to really enjoy.
IF YOU HAVE MADE IT THIS FAR, THANKS! I'm going to leverage your dedication :)
As we move away from "official" IMPACT, we are going to keep meeting on Sunday nights. When we did this last year, we had incredible luck with going to other peoples houses. We would love to have the youth come to your house! If you click the button below, you can read more about what that would look like, and sign up to have us come! This sort of thing fosters intergenerational relationships and it shows the students that our congregation cares. Either way, thanks for looking!
I hope you all have wonderful weeks!
Good morning parents!
Sunday school continues to go well and the conversation that the students are willing to have is awesome. We talked about God's design for sex within marriage, the old testament practice of polygamy, and the covenant nature of marriage. Marriage is a beautiful union of two people in the sight of God, where they become ONE flesh. This requires a promise to one another, or a choice to love one another no matter what. This isn't often the way we think about love because of the casual way we see culture defining it.
Impact continued In God's Image this week, and it went very well. Last week we introduced a "question box" and I was skeptical of how well it would work. We allowed to students to ask any questions they might have relating to love, sex, or dating. We promised to answer them as truthfully as we could, without cherry picking questions. To my shock, by the time we were done playing nine square there were 38 questions in the box. We got five more via text through the week, and we did our best to get them all typed out and answered!
We started by talking about what dating has become, and why its necessary to answer some of the questions that we are talking about. We talked about healthy boundaries, "fuse shorten-ers" and other things that Christians have come to accept as normal that we shouldn't. After that we tried our best to go through the questions quickly but thoroughly, and only managed to get halfway. If you would like to see a list of those questions, you can follow THIS link. We have yet to type out all of the answers, but I will try to get those done this week.
Next week we plan to continue to answer some of the questions from the question box, but we are also going to have Bill and Liz Boerman join Dynelle and I in an effort to talk about marriage as the logical end to dating. I'm very pleased with student response, and I would encourage you as parents to talk openly and boldly to your students about sexual issues. They respond very well, even in what I would consider awkward situations.
Thanks for checking in!
This week was the beginning of our In God's Image curriculum, and it was an incredible success in my eyes. Both Sunday school and IMPACT resulted in mature conversations surrounding men, women, and God's design for us in relationships.
Sunday school was filled with discussion about how sex is just like any other sin, and how it can be redeemed. We talked about the "pros and cons" of sex outside marriage from the perspective of the church and the perspective of culture. The conversation was incredibly mature, and we talked about how intimacy and commitment are supposed to grow together, eventually culminating in marriage on the commitment side, and sex on the intimacy side. Our culture likes to rush the intimacy side, with the false promise of dragging commitment along with it. That is obviously not how it works, and is one of the main reasons people have sex outside of marriage! They are trying to force commitment using intimacy.
IMPACT was equally wonderful. We had great conversation, lots of laughs, and some fantastic questions were asked. The lesson plan will be attached so you can take a look at that if you'd like! We talked about men and women, how they think, how we're different, and how we compliment one another. We reaffirmed that sexual sin can be redeemed and that sex itself is a good thing designed by God. We talked about how sex is a whole body thing, it incorporates the emotional, spiritual, mental, and physical aspects of ourselves. Any attempt to move toward sex without all four of those things accounted for is a cheap, watered down knock off. We had time at the end to put questions in a question box, and it went far better than I expected. We have so many great questions to answer next week. You can follow my lesson planning in real time by clicking the button below!
I will do my best to keep all of you in the loop as to how our conversations are going and the material that we will be teaching! Thanks for stopping by!
Happy sunny Tuesday morning!
This past week was finally a return to form for both Sunday school and IMPACT. We continue to see new faces and it's awesome. Sunday school went well and we almost finished talking about why bad things happen to good people. We talked about attitudes toward hardships in life, and how we should respond to them. Often times hearing that there is a light at the end of the tunnel doesn't help at all, because it isn't always visible when you're in the tunnel. We discussed a couple different viewpoints, and how we can help people who may be "in a tunnel" without saying something that might hurt them. We should be able to wrap this topic up next week in the first fifteen minutes, and move right into our In God's Image question! Obviously, we think that sex outside of marriage is wrong, but we are going to try to see why some Christians are justifying it, and honestly assess if there is any merit there.
IMPACT was awesome! We finally had worship again, even if it was a bit less loud than usual :)
We talked about Jesus washing the disciples feet, and really tried to imagine that story in a different light. Jesus took of the robes of a rabbi, and put on the rags of the lowest slave in the house. He performed arguably the most humiliating task possible, and his disciples were rightfully shocked. When we read that story we usually associate ourselves with Jesus, and our call to "wash one another's feet." This week we were challenged to relate to Peter. We often lack the humility to do what Jesus did but are arrogant in a different way: we refuse to be served when it is offered. Receiving from others can be just as hard as humbling ourselves to serve them.
Next week we will begin talking about sex and how God intended for it to be a beautiful thing. This years focus will be less on how the act of sex works, and way more about the relationships that it is intended to enrich. I feel like almost all of our high schoolers know how it works, but have no idea how it is supposed to be treated. We will focus on the different needs of men and women, and how marriage sets us up for success as relational people! By the time you read this, you should have received an email with some more specific information about what we are hoping to talk about and when.
Good morning parents!
This past week was strange again, with game night moving because of sickness, and IMPACT starting late. I remain hopeful that someday we can get back into a more "normal" routine.
Sunday school was great. We continued to talk about why God lets bad things happen to good people. We talked a little bit about our perception of what "good and fair" is vs what God might deem to be good and fair. We also tried to decide if people inherently deserve anything in life. If we walk into every situation feeling like we know what the greatest good would be, and that somehow it always will benefit us, we must be arrogant.
That doesn't make the reality of suffering any less difficult to swallow. In light of all the "non-answers" we are talking about in Sunday school, I decided to change up what we were doing for IMPACT. While it is true that a lot of the most difficult and nuanced questions regarding faith don't have absolute answers, we have some absolutely beautiful truths that we can rest on too.
In order to keep us grounded, we went back to the basics at IMPACT. Our time together was reduced slightly, and I thought it might be nice to just relax for a night and hear some good things spoken about ourselves. So we read some Max Lucado! We read "You are Special," "Because I Love You," and "Just the Way You Are." They all are wonderful stories brimming with truth that we so often forget or fail to recognize fully.
In the midst of transition and questions that have tough answers, we can rest on the truth that we serve a good God who loves us, affirms us, and is constantly seeking us out. We don't need a special gift to bring to the King, we just need a heart that loves Him. I thoroughly enjoyed spending time soaking in those truths for a moment with our high schoolers. We all need those reminders every now and then, and I felt like this one was timely.
We are gearing up for our In God's Image curriculum! Expect that to start the first Sunday in march and run for two weeks! Thanks for stopping by, and investing in your children!
Good morning (or afternoon, or whenever you are reading this!)
This past Sunday was a blast for me. Sunday school went well, and we were able to finish up our question for the week. We talked about how there are no "levels" of sin, and how God's grace is totally sufficient for us. We ran through a couple of imaginary peoples beliefs and talked about what we liked and didn't like. There were two takeaways I wanted students to leave with: God's grace is more than enough, and if you have asked for forgiveness trust that it has been given and live into that reality.
Obviously, we didn't have regular IMPACT this week. But we did have a rocking prayer meeting! I was so proud of our students. I heard tons of familiar teen voices joining the chorus of people praying and I was absolutely bursting with joy. Your children are the future of the church, and they are already stepping up to lead in some incredible ways.
Hopefully, next week we can have our "regular" schedule back! Thanks for checking in!