Good morning! Hope you're all doing good and for some, ready for a long weekend. We have a lot going on around here so this may be short and sweet but short and sweet for me is still probably too long. Bear with me! (edited warning: it actually ended up longer than normal, forgive me!)
I guess I always remember the teenagers of the church sitting together. I remember my old pastor communicating the need for this back when I was in 8th grade. Before this time I would sit with my parents and a couple of friends or I'd go sit with my friend and his parents. I really don't have a strong opinion on this really. I think it is good for students to sit with each other, if they can still concentrate on the sermon, respect those around them and honor God in the process. I guess I do miss the opportunity to sit as a family too. I love that our children's church ends at 4th grade to enable to the 5th graders to be with parents in "big church" to learn how to act in church. Of course it always helps if the adults lead well in this area. I would also get upset when I was a student and the same person that got onto me would do the same thing I did, as if 40 years of life made it "ok." I also remember my parents being in the choir, I couldn't sit with them there, but mom was also part eagle/hawk. There wasn't a place in that church building I couldn't be to where her watchful eye was not on me. If I stepped out of line and took it to far I'd see that caring yet scary glare and then looking over her head, in the bass section, I'd see dad. Even thinking about it now I hear the Walker Texas Ranger song...."the eyes of the ranger are upon you." We need more of this today. I needed help in learning how to honor God in His house. This is a learned behavior. It helps if the person/student is a follower of Christ and has a respect and knowledge of who God is and what He desires/deserves from us. Trust your student to make the right decision but be ever close to help them when they don't.....because none of us are perfect and all of us need this guidance. Our students do not automatically begin this....they learn from us.
For this reason I have mixed emotions. I think the majority of our students are able to sit together, in a youth section, while fully concentrating on honoring God (listening to the sermon, singing the hymns, respecting the house of God and those around them.) I think they need the opportunity to try, with us, parents, their to help lead them in actions and instruction. Some of our students probably need to still be in the shelter of their parents wings as they still have not learned how to respect the house of God (putting gum on other students, constantly goofing off, disrupting those around them.)
While I understand that all of us have moments of not being connected with the service we do have some that are seemingly never connected with the service, this alarms me. We've lost a fear for God and a respect for His house. We respect the presence of mere man moreso than the presence of God. Of course I think it will help when we're not using the same place for church that we use for dodgeball!
So it scares me a bit to have a youth section because then I seem very responsible for the actions of that section. Each Sunday night during our chair breakdown I am discouraged and even sometimes have people approach me with concerns regarding all the trash that's left in the youth section. This has nothing to do with dodgeball and everything to do with respect. If a student is disruptive, they come to me, this too is a respect issue. It's a respect for God issue and a respect for others issue. We all know that ultimately the parent is responsible, at all times, for their student's welfare, behavior, spiritual walk, and even behavior in Church but as the youth pastor, they typically come to me. I accept this responsibility and am pleading for your help in this area. The last thing I want is for our student ministry to be a burden but I also try to help our church body, and those with issues, understand that are students are growing, learning, and need help, guidance. I'm sure even that complainer has taken their focus off the sermon to ask about something...."Want to get a frosty after church?" I typically always challenge the person with the issue to go to the student and help them....fulfill Titus 2 and take them under their wing. I could also challenge them with Matthew 18 or even encourage them to encourage the "speck in the eye" verse. The struggle is real and as parents and leaders we embrace the struggle and continually pour into our students with the hope that they know Jesus and follow Jesus. This will influence greater than anything!
So as we move into our new sanctuary we do hope our students sit with each other and I pray our parents help them in this regard but also continue to "keep an eye on" your student to ensure that everyone that is present has the ability to hear clearly the gospel of Jesus Christ, this is the ultimate goal, hear the Gospel.
With that said, our students actually voted last night as their favorite section. So look at the picture above and find section 6. This is the section our students would like to sit in. It will not be marked as a student section and over time our students may migrate to another section. Either way we'll encourage they sit together and see the benefit of having a youth section but understand and fully support if you'd rather have your student with you during the service.
October 13, this Monday, we are moving a ton of stuff, rooms, chairs over to the new building. We have many people signed up but could always use more folks. If you are interested in helping please send me an email. We have task sheets that are printed and will be encouraging folks to get a task, complete and get another one until we're all done. If "free lunch" helps motivate you then I'll shoot out that we're providing lunch. But we do need to know if you're coming preferably to best prepare.
These are exciting times for our church and this is a great way for you to get involved and help. We do this each summer for our local schools and call it missions so I really don't think it's a stretch to say come be involved in a free mission trip this Monday, August 13.
OK, we are having a fire, a big one, on November 1st. We so want you to come and be apart of this as it's an awesome time ti simply hang out. We're hoping to do something like this each month to get the students together in a casual setting and just let them be kids again! We tend to guard our Wednesdays to grow in our faith, through the Word and many times the crazy things get left out. These gatherings serve as a way for us to simply have fun, but to do so in a God honoring way. December gathering....tacky sweater dodgeball/capture the flag! Details coming soon!
The Creed (sermon)
See, short doesn't always mean short in my world for some reason. I get carried away!
Thankfully I can simply post our sermon notes up in this section and you can read for yourself what we discussed last night at the Rock. I've attached both the sermon notes and the bulletin/outline.
It's a great way for you to discuss what we discussed in order to continue the conversation. Our students have a lot going on and sometimes miss. This is a way for them to miss the Rock without missing the Rock. We have many athletes and band folks that can't attend so this is a way for them, and you, to make sure the most important relationship or thing they've got going on is healthy and growing.
I pray we are making this walk with God priority #1. If we do not, and send mixed signals as to what is most important we may not like the result of what we're raising. May God continue to lead us and grant to us wisdom and knowledge as we take on the responsibility of raising children! Lord help!
Why a blog?
A great way for parents and ministry to connect and continue the conversation of what's going on at The Rock.