Good morning friends!
Unfortunately, there isn't a whole lot to report on this week :( Our Sunday School hour was a congregational meeting, and Impact was cancelled for the second week in a row due to weather.
For what it's worth, we are still planning to move into our in God's Image material on March 10-17. This year we will again be focusing on being fearfully and wonderfully made, and how we are supposed to view dating in a world that places so much emphasis on having a significant other.
Thanks for being such wonderful supporters of your children and this youth group! I appreciate all of you!
Good morning friends!
This past week in Sunday school, we continued to learn about Organic Outreach and specifically raising our "heart temperature" one degree for the lost. The idea behind Kevin's teaching was that we can all identify if we are loving the lost well. He uses a scale of one to ten to designate this, and his challenge was to find a way to raise your temperature by one degree. If you are at a 4 don't think about being a 10, just try to get to a 5. To simplify it even further, Kevin (and I) want people to think a little more about evangelism. Not tons, but just enough to where you might consider changing a patter of though or a behavior to be more loving to those who don't know the Gospel.
IMPACT was cancelled due to weather and my crippling fear of students driving home in the dark and in a whiteout! We will also be going through In God's Image in March as usual. Right now we are planning to talk openly about the differences between men and women in light of how God made us, and how that can be practically applied to dating in a high school context.
Thanks for stopping by again!
Good morning everyone!
In Sunday School this week, We talked about the "law of love." Kevin Harney challenged us to love those around us better. When we look around us at our fellow people, we should see them as precious because God sees them as precious. This is difficult in practice though, because we tend to be a tad bit judgmental. Those that look different, act different, or believe different are generally a bit harder to love. Kevin encouraged us to see others as valuable and worthy of the kind of love that God has for them. This mindset instantly makes us more likely to do evangelism, as we want people we love to know the good news!
At youth group, we listened to our good friend Francis Chan again, who challenged us to examine what we believe about the Holy Spirit. It's no secret that the RCA isn't exactly famous for its emphasis on the Spirit, but FRCZ does a pretty good job of reminding us that there is something special about having God inside of us. We challenged the students to think about what their lives would look like if they let the Spirit truly lead. We recognized that often times this is much easier said than done, but it is definitely worth it in the long run.
Next week we will continue both of these series!
Thanks as usual for checking in!! See you next week!
Good morning friends!
This past Sunday in our Organic Outreach class, we talked about "the two degree rule." The basic premise is that most churches (if they are honest) tend to direct the majority of their programming inward. What I mean by that is most churches focus their money, time and effort on those who are already believers and within the church. The two degree rule doesn't suggest forming new programming that is outreach focused, it instead encourages churches to shift the existing programming two degrees outward. If we do meals on wheels for our church members, why not elderly people in our community? If we have a class or a speaker that would benefit the community as a whole, why not invite everyone? I think the students responded pretty well to this message, and i found it to be fairly convicting myself.
IMPACT was a weird one. We only had about 12 students in attendance becuase of the super bowl and festivities surrounding it. Every year I challenge the students to imagine what it would look like if they were as interested in their faith as they are in the superbowl or the events surrounding it. Having half the group absent this year made me chuckle a bit, considering my message would have probably been most applicable for those that didn't attend! Not that I judge though, it is the superbowl after all (the worst one in the history of superbowls, but a superbowl nonetheless.) So those that were there had a good time relaxing and eating pizza!
Next week we continue with Organic Outreach and the BASICS series by Francis Chan!
Thanks for keeping up to date!
Good morning parents!
I hope all of you are safe and warm today!
This past Sunday, I invited the youth to come to the congregational update and hear about the new structure that is in place at FRCZ. We have talked at length about Winning on Purpose and the Accountable Leadership model, but this is the first time we are seeing the fruits of its implementation. If you weren't able to attend the update, I will do my best to give a short summary with a little bit of character :)
At FRCZ, Jesus is the head of our church. Everything we do as an organization and a congregation should be about moving people closer to Jesus. We do this by making disciples who make disciples. At the top of our chain of command is the Administrative consistory. They set the boundaries for what the staff can and cannot do as we go about accomplishing our mission and keep the lead pastor accountable! This frees up the lead pastor to focus his or her time on preaching and serving as the go-to guy for the staff. He or she will be the person that I can look to to understand where my ministry is and help me if necessary. The staff are now the leaders of their own teams and E teams are looking a little different. They still meet regularly, but now its not necessary for every E team to have a staff member on it. Those teams will meet as often as they see fit and have the ability to directly address the lead pastor to propose ideas.
All that to say, I think this is very good news. I think this give me and the other directors at FRCZ a new sense of responsibility and freedom within our programs and it feels great. I will be able to surround myself with members of our congregation that are passionate about youth ministry and who are comfortable being truthful with me. This will allow for some of my previously shelved ideas to come out, so look for some fun events in the near future!
During IMPACT, we again watched Francis Chan's BASIC series, and talked about the simple challenge of being a Christ follower. Often we tell ourselves that we are following Christ, but we only do so when its convenient or when we are in trouble. The current tend in America away from Christianity is alarming, but it makes sense. We have people who attend church every Sunday and live fairly moral lives, but do so for all the wrong reasons. We need to see a generation of believers who are serious about emulating Christ, reaching the least of these, and living their faith on a daily basis. I encouraged your students to think of ways that they could being to "move closer to the center" in their faith day by day. All of that can have a tendency to instill a little bit (or a lot) of guilt, so we ended with the beautiful truth of Jesus Christ crucified. All who are in Him no longer need fear condemnation.
As usual, thanks for checking in and sticking through this huge wall of text! Have a wonderful week!
Good morning friends!
This past Sunday started to feel like we were hitting a really good groove again for me. Some of our students aren't thrilled with the format of the Sunday school teaching because of the longer videos, but I really believe in the material, so we are going to try and tough it out for the moment. Speaking of Sunday school, we talked about 7 simple mind shifts that we can make in order to be more effective as a church in evangelism. Kevin (the author of Organic Outreach, and the person who we watch speak every morning) is very familiar with West MI culture, and makes some really good points about how we normally think about evangelism. If this sounds like something you might be interested in, please feel free to join us next week! There is no reading or prep needed on your part!
Impact took another turn as I keep trying to find or develop curriculum that our students benefit from, but wouldn't scare away those who may not have already accepted Christ. We tried out the "Basics." series by Francis Chan this week, and I loved the simplicity of the message. The title of the video we watched was "Fear God." Francis reminds us that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, and that our culture is slowly backing away from the idea of this fear being anything more than awe. He proposes that the fear we should rightfully have of God is a form of proper terror, and then we should take equally deep solace in the fact that every time we see someone encounter God (or an angel, or some other heavenly being) the first thing we hear is "Do not be afraid."
We may tend to minimize the glory of God and fail to see how "big" God truly is. The "bigger" God is to you, the more aware you become of the kind of grace we have been shown, and the greater your gratitude. The same goes for fear, I think. The more you realize how great God is, the more you realize that you should be obliterated in His presence. This naturally causes fear, but it also makes the words "do not be afraid" that much sweeter.
We have our winter weekend coming up, and that means no Impact next week! Thanks for checking in!!
Good morning friends!
This past Sunday was super full! We started a new Sunday School class with the adults called Organic Outreach. The teaching format is a little different than your students are probably used to, but after asking them how they felt, it seems like this class will be a good fit for us. The lesson this Sunday can basically be summed up by saying "Its not about you." One of the phrases that stuck with me from the video was "The truth of God's word will never change; everything else is up for grabs." It is intended to expand our view of how evangelism is done, and I think its a pretty hard thing to live into practically. As we keep encountering hard truths, I hope we can keep our hearts open to being challenged to do outreach more often and more naturally.
Impact was fun too! It was right after our parent meeting (which went super well too!) and Nancy McCleery bought us pizza! We sat and talked briefly about Elijah and some of the things that he is known for, and we hope to continue that conversation next week! After we are done talking about Elijah and his faith, we are moving to Elisha!
Thanks for checking in again! I appreciate you all and the support you give your students, as well as the support you give the youth group as a whole. See you next week!
Can you believe that we are already done for 2018? I was reflecting on all the things that have happened this year, not only within our youth group but our church as a whole and I felt like we needed to end the year on that note. So this past Sunday we reflected on the things that God did in our lives, and the places we hope to do better in 2018.
For me personally, 2018 wasn't the kindest year. FRCZ lost some good people, Dynelle was forced to transition jobs, and family drama reared its ugly head again. All of that sounds really bad, but God has already been faithful in showing me where I can learn and grow from those things. In the midst of all the bad, First now has Jordan and Erica. Our youth group continues to grow in amazing ways both spiritually and numerically. Dynelle's transition has allowed her to be more active in the youth group here. Hopefully, as you reflect on the things you experienced this year, you can see God's hand as well. We tend to have very short views and fail to praise God in the good times, much less the bad. I can't wait to be a part of what God does here in 2019, and I'm excited that you all are coming with me :)
Impact was a celebration of this year as well, and we had a great time playing an apples to apples-esque game made by fail army! Thanks for another fantastic year, and have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Good morning friends!
This past Sunday, we had our first "normal" Sunday school in a while! We spent some time talking about Advent and why its important. We live in a time where it is very easy to be distracted around Christmas, and its not uncommon to forget what we are actually celebrating. I find myself getting frustrated every time I have to go to Meijer because everyone and their entire extended family feels the need to be there at the exact same time. I tend to worry about getting the "right" presents, and focusing on the fanfare surrounding the season. Advent is a time of remembering, but it also is a time of great expectation. We look back on Christ's first coming, but even more importantly, we are looking forward with great expectation to His second.
IMPACT was a wrap up of our conversations on Job, and we talked a little bit about Melchizedek. We are hoping to keep talking about OT characters and why they are important to us till the end of the year :)
As usual, I'm thankful that you are interested in what we are doing!
This past Sunday, I'm sure your students were thrilled to be able to attend our annual budget meeting! As much as they hate it, I truly believe that having them there and helping them be confident in giving input will make them better church members in the future. They had some realizations that were well beyond their years and seeing them engage despite the bad feelings was very encouraging.
Sunday evening, we began reading through the book of Job. Over the past few weeks we have had a lot of conversation surrounding Job and his experiences. Some of our deeper conversations about theology have centered on God's goodness in relation to Job especially. Over the next few weeks we are going to take a look at Jobs life, read all 42 chapters, and dive into what that story means for us in a modern context. I would encourage you to ask your students if the conversations we are having are bringing up any questions in their minds. Many of our students are interested in predestination and God's goodness in light of the problem of sin in the world. As usual, we are hoping to tackle that with as much truth and grace as possible, while understanding that some things in the Bible just don't have easy answers.
Thanks for checking in on us, and have a great week!
I'm Noah. I do High School things. Expect this page to update every Tuesday morning!