Fall Break Shmall Break

I’ve never really understood why youth ministries take a break during school breaks. If there was ever a time to be available, wouldn’t it be when your students are 100% available?

Summer, Fall and Spring Breaks are prime time in youth ministry. I planned SO MANY hangouts and events last summer, and the students seemed to LOVE IT! Seriously, we could open the door and turn on a light and our students would come.

This week is the Fall Break for most of our students. Sunday night we did Laser Tag, tonight we’re doing Broom Hockey, and on Saturday we’re painting four houses in the neighborhood we serve. Then we meet on Sunday!

I’ll be exhausted on Monday, but it will have been SO WORTH IT.

Not sure when I’m gonna write my sermon though, haha!

I’d rather live out a sermon than write one anyways.

Being a youth pastor is much less about being cool or creative… it’s about being available.

I love my job.

Summer Camp Video

Here’s a little clip from our Summer Camp at UCYC. I can’t believe how much I love this crew already.

I’m so used to Hume Lake, which is an amazing camp… but the much smaller UCYC was good for us. There wasn’t a whole lot to do, or many places to go, so we saw each other a TON! I can’t say that about my past experiences at camps. The hugeness of camp worked against me in the past. I sometimes didn’t see a whole group of students until 4 or 5 days into camp!

The jury is out on where we’ll go next year. Probably not UCYC, even though it was a great experience. Maybe Forest Home. I hope FoHo drops their prices… AT LEAST as low as Hume’s prices! And maybe Hume… but only if I can spend as much time with our crew somehow. Or maybe we’ll just rent some RV’s and do our own summer camp at Yosemite!

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Unbelievable

I just can’t stop talking about how good things are going at Mission. I’m so floored at how good God has been to the High School Ministry so far.

When I got here we had something like 8 adult volunteers, and now we’ve got over 30. And I’ve been PICKY PICKY PICKY. They just keep coming. I take no credit.

I think we had something like 110 people in the room my first few weeks. Today we had 198. And I’ve been teaching through some difficult/challenging/crowd-shrinking passages! They just keep coming. I take no credit.

I give all the credit to God, and to my friend Kerry who led these kids so well for so long. They were growing and ready to keep growing before I even got here.

I loved Cornerstone, but I wasn’t supposed to be there any more. It ended ugly, but God has shown his grace in how he has redeemed that whole mess. I loved Calvary too, and I miss my Orange County friends, but I wasn’t supposed to be there any more.

I had to come to Mission, and I’m so glad I did.

I wonder if I would feel this way if attendance had plummeted and nobody seemed to care what I was saying. I wonder if I’d feel this contentment and joy if the Mission students were hard-hearted and critical of me. I feel this great sense of confirmation, but it’s easy to feel this way when everything is going so well. It’s easy to trust God when everything is going smooth.

Trouble is coming, it always is… I hope that my joy, contentment, and faith in God remain strong! I hope I continue to take heart and remember that this world has already been overcome. That Love has already won.

And I hope we have 400 kids coming by this time next year… because there are about 10,000 high school students within 15 miles of me. That keeps my 200 in a proper perspective!

weekend #1

I just wrapped up my first weekend on staff at Mission Community Church (launching a new website next week)!

Saturday was my fifth day on staff, but I was still facilitating a volunteer training session with our Jr High Pastor Josh Barton. Our College Pastor Jason Robinson was on vacation with his wife Kim, who is the Student Ministries Admin. It was pretty crazy to start without her there (I have so many questions!). Kim and Jason are back in action tomorrow, but Josh Barton left for camp today, so the madness will continue for at least one more week.

I spoke this weekend at our Saturday night combined youth service, and then today in our separate Jr High and High School services. The Saturday night crew is… unique. They don’t really know how to interact as a group yet. The service has only been going for about a month, so we’re going to have to create some community in there SOON!

The Sunday morning crews are amazing= tons of energy and lots of laughs today! The crowd looked like it had a good mix of students, from completely indifferent to completely on board.

I gave a good chunk of my testimony and pitched a thumbnail of my vision for the Student Ministries. I’m exhausted every time I share my story… it feels like I’m ripping my chest open for everyone to come up and take a peak. I loved the attentiveness of the crowds, and their response afterwards. Well, actually… the Saturday night service emptied IMMEDIATELY after I dismissed them! Maybe they all had to pee REAL bad? Weird…

I’ll be working on filling up an empty summer calendar this week! It doesn’t make sense for ANY youth ministry to shut down shop in the Summer, no matter how hot it is!!!

Broom hockey anyone?

we made it

We’re here in AZ! Well, I’m here… Lindsay went to Ohio for 5 days already. She seriously needs to get a job with Southwest Airlines.

We’re staying with our friends Brian and Promise until we land somewhere permanently. We’re not moving back into our old house (it’s still for sale). There are houses here in AZ going for like 150k that were TWICE that just a year ago (just like mine that is STILLLL FOR SAAAAAAALE). We’ll be house shopping non-stop once Lindsay gets back in town.

Tonight is my welcome party with the students, and then this weekend I’m being commissioned up front in all five services. Should be fun! Then on Monday I am in the office to hit the ground running! I love driving up and seeing the construction going on!

Lindsay is going to keep her eyes open for a job- let us know if you’ve got a great one for her!

I’m so excited to plug in and start doing life with this community. I’m missing my Calvary students for sure… this new crew has some huge shoes to fill, and so do I!

youth ministry name

|| UPDATE: I ended up choosing to not give a specific name to our high school ministry. Instead, we simply go by “Mission High School Ministry”, and I couldn’t be happier. I shorten it to MissionHS for our Twitter and Facebook. MISSION is the name of the church I work at. ||

I’ve been thinking about what I should name my new youth group lately. I probably won’t make the switch until next year, but I’m sure I want to.

I loved the name “Merge” when I was at Cornerstone. The definition “to combine or unite so as to become indistinguishable from one another” was a perfect match with Galatians 2:20 “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me“. When we said “Come to Merge!” we were inviting them to a place AND inviting them to come and join their lives with Christ. I could re-name my new group “Merge”, but that would be feisty because the original Merge is ten-minutes down the road. Only kidding…

I’ve been LOVING the word “Union” after reading Brennan Manning’s “The Furious Longing of God“. Check out what he said:

“That’s one of the most explosive words in my Christian vocabulary. The daring metaphor of Jesus as bridegroom suggests that the living God seeks more than an intimate relationship with us. The reckless, raging fury of Yahweh culminates, dare we say it, in a symbiotic fusion, a union so substantive that the Apostle Paul would write: ‘It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.'”

The only thing stopping me is that I know of another ministry out there with that name… I’m torn. I like “Union”, but I’d also like to have a name that is a but more active. Something with a little more volume maybe. Or maybe I’ll just keep it lined up with the church’s name (The High School Ministry of Mission Community Church). Hmm…

If you grew up in the church, what was your youth ministry called?

What would YOU name one if you were a high school pastor?

Moving back to Arizona

Here comes some big news in the world of Lindsay and Ryan: we’re heading back to Arizona next month šŸ™‚

It was a very difficult decision to leave our church here in California, but we know that it is the right one.

We’re headed to Superstition Springs Community Church (soon to be Mission Community Church), where I will lead the Student Ministries team and focus most of my attention on the High School Ministry.

I wasn’t looking to leave Calvary, but when the invitation came to join the staff at SSCC we had to say yes. SSCC has been a really special place for Lindsay and I for a few years now. I was meeting with the lead pastor there to offer my time as a volunteer even while I was on staff at Cornerstone- I just loved it there. And Lindsay just glows when she’s there, and I like it when Lindsay glows.

Our time at Calvary has been so good. We love the staff and students so much, and saying goodbye to them will be no easy thing. God is doing amazing things at Calvary, and we were honored to be a part of it!

Please pray for the Calvary staff as they figure out what the next move is. The High School team at Calvary is in VERY good hands with Melissa Brosch at the wheel. And please pray for us as we move back to Arizona in the middle of the summer… yuck.

You can read a copy of the letter that I wrote to the families of our ministry here at Calvary by clicking HERE.