Friday, January 29, 2010

O'Doyle Rules

Kayleigh is my sweet child. She really does not have a violent bone in her body. Really, if her sisters hit her, she whines, but she does not hit back. She just takes it and gets upset. I have found this character trait to be one of the most precious, until this week.

This week, Kayleigh encountered her first bully. It started with a little girl who told Kayleigh that she wanted to be friends with her as they were walking home from school in our neighborhood. The next day, the girl admitted she lied to kayleigh about where she lived, and who her parents were. The following day, the little girl and her friends yelled at Kayleigh (and Taylor this time) and called them names. This continued for a few days with both of my daughters complaining about the "weirdos" who hang out at the tree line by their school. It all erupted on Wednesday when Kayleigh (in tears) and Taylor arrived at our doorstep and announced that because Kayleigh had ventured into their territory she deserved (and received) a punch in the arm. I, of course, have visions of finding the little girl and, well, we won't go into it (not my best moment). Kayleigh was shaken, but received support from her friends at church that night (and several teens in our youth group who volunteered to walk home with her should she need them, lol). She's better, it's being taken care of at school (after a well written email by Daddy) and Kayleigh is NOT afraid to walk home (especially after given permission to defend herself in a very nonsubmissive way). She has yet to walk home yet after the incident, but I have high hopes this issue has been put to bed, although i know that it is not the last time she or my other children will deal with a cruel child. Ahhh parenting.

*side note. Taylor will not have to worry about bullies. She volunteered to stay behind and "take care of it" (the 5 third graders), but Kayleigh resisted and forced her to come home with her.

Youth Ministry Remastered (volume 1)

I previously posted about how we are revamping how we look at, and pursue) a new youth ministry, here is an update on how it's going.

Last Sunday, our youth group "took over" the regular Service. As you would have walked in, you were greeted by a friendly teenager (or several, we had to split them up because they were looking very intimidating, as they were a little overzealous in their duties), as you were seated in the sanctuary, you might have noticed teenagers in the sound booth, teenagers as ushers. As service started, you would have been led to worship by teenagers (they did wonderfully, we practiced for months!), the only portion of the service not led by teenagers was the message (unless you count a 30 year old with the mind of a teenager). Baxter spoke to our congregation about the leaders of tomorrow. Our church is going through our 20 year anniversary celebration. His general message was that the term youth ministry should be considered a misnomer. We need to cross the lines and divide that separate the "big church" from the teenagers. Not only in the church, but also outside in the community. We must break down stereotypes and talk to each other. We are all part of the body, and teens can and will take ownership of their faith if you give them the chance. There is a time and place for separation, but we should take every opportunity to disciple each other. Teens can teach us a thing or two if you think about it! Summary: Our teens relished the chance to show their gifts. It has inspired them to step away from the box. Goooood Stuff.

Next up, our teens participate in the 30 Hour Famine, completely planned and promoted by an eighth grader!

Monday, January 11, 2010

My New Toy

My buddies gave me a new toy for my birthday. Here is a present for them...

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Hey, come on it's not all fun and games...

For those of my readers who are familiar with the typical makeup of a youth ministry program, there's generally a consistent pattern to how each service might go.
You've got your games, you've got your music, and you've got your hip youth pastor (usually wearing holy jeans, and sporting "the youth pastor goatee") who breaks down the bible for a total of about 20 minutes each service. We've certainly fallen into this trap in our ministry (well, maybe not the hip youth pastor part), and don't get me wrong there's nothing wrong with any of these elements. If you ask a guest or visitor after they leave one of these services what they would remember the most, it would be "hey we played this awesome game and it was so fun" (if they had a good time).

I haven't had experience with a whole lot of different churches, but in my several years of volunteering this is what I've seen. It may not be as prevelant as it feels, but we want to do better. We want discipleship with the older generation (50 and up, no you're not old, just older okay?), we want in depth study, we want community, we want true worship (we are so getting there already it's amazing to see!)we want the students to take ownership of their faith and their group. We want graduates to go off to college knowing why they believe what they believe. If they've already started actually LIVING out their faith, they can take it with them, and stay in church rather than take a 20 year hiatus once they go off to college (which is the statistic I believe for those that stop going to church). So, how do you make these things the focus of a ministry? Just do it? Right. Got it. It's a bigger process than one would think. The winds of change are a-blowin' and we are at the "fetus" stages so to speak. It's an exciting time. God is working! More to come later.

Birthday Week!

It's everyone's favorite time of year again, my birthday week celebration. It's a low key celebration this year. For instance, yesterday I celebrated by doing about 6 loads of laundry and pulling one of the girls toothbrushes out of the toilet. I'm not giving up on having a spectacular rest of the week, though. I've got faith in Baxter that this year he'll pull something together. (especially since I know he reads this blog daily and is now reminded that he better get with it). He's been very good the last couple of years about surprising me. I am turning a milestone age this year (I won't put it down, it's too hard) and am catching a lot of grief from several people so I had at least better get something out of it!

I don't want to be leaving this age behind. It's been a good year. Maybe next year will be even better!

More updates to come when something magical happens!

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