VBS Connections

This past week was FaithPoint’s Vacation Bible School (VBS). It was a week filled with surf themed fun.  We talked, showed and sent home God’s love to the kids,”surfers” who were entrusted into our care.  We gad great teachers, “lifeguards” and directors that made this week really special.

The thing that got me was the connections that were made.  We partnered with 2 other churches in order to offer something better and more sustainable than we could do alone.  We have partnered with these congregations in the past, and the ministry partnerships like this just make sense.  We are all working toward the same goal, and we are three vital congregations that each have something unique to offer our community.

We also had amazing connection within our campers/surfers.  Each of our groups looked like a divers little school.  It was really neat to truly see the diversity of our community reflected in the groups as they connected and went throughout the day.  This was a little glimpse of the Kingdom.  Really cool!

Finally, there was a powerful connectional system at work in our mission project for the week.  We spent the weeks before VBS collecting school supplies.  At our mission station, we told the kids about the devastating flooding in West Virginia and the need for school supplies and that these kids who lost much would need things for school very soon.

One of FaithPoint’s members made fabric bags that we would then be able to place items in for the school supply kits as outlined by the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR).  Beautiful! (more info here about UMCOR and the school kits https://www.umcor.org/UMCOR/Relief-Supplies/Relief-Supply-Kits/School)

The kids had a great time learning and filling dozens of bags for this project.  However, when it was all said and done getting the bags to those in need in WV hit some bumps.  Collection and distribution centers seemed to be in short supply in our area.  There or some possible leads that migth get the kits to the affected area at some point, but no firm promises were made.

Enter Carlee! Woot!

Carlee is one of my former youth, amazingly faithful, a stand our journalist and FaithPoint Online community members.

At the wedding of a good friend of ours, we were talked about when she had to go back home to Charleston, WV. She said she was planning on going back Sunday afternoon. Perfect.  I asked if she would be our transporter of bags.  Absolutely!!! She said.

Not only is Carlee going to take the school kits into the heart of those hit hard by the flooding, but she has a school picked out.  Elkview Middle School.

Here is an article from Carlee’s paper about the devastation the floods did to a nearby high school: http://www.wvgazettemail.com/news-education/20160715/hoover-damages-equal-70-percent-of-wv-schools-value

Some of our #surfshack surfers praying over our mission project school supplies

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The picture above is Jillian and some of our VBS students praying over the bags during worship as they were getting ready to make their journey to the Elkview Middle School.

What a cool connectional system and a reminder of the power of people coming together in the name of God and making our community better.

Please continue to keep our students, churches and those impacted by the floods in your prayers.  Think about how you might help and respond to being the good in your community.


Just moments ago I received a message from Carlee that the supplies were delivered.  Mission Accomplished.  Way to go team.  Lets keep up the great work.

light it up

This past week I took pictures of Santa at Eden’s school.  It was a great time.  The kids worked on presents for their parents and made some cookies.  They also got a little surprise from Santa.  I was deemed the photographer.  When I went into the school I was shown the place where Santa was to be.  It was a dark corner of the library.  I had brought a flash to use on a tripod.  But then remembered that I had the stage lights from church in the back of my car.  So I turned the little dark corner into a moderately well done photo studio.  It was super fun.

When asked about the lighting I said to a teacher, “I have this kid of stuff with me all the time, don’t you?”

she gave a puzzled look.

The sad part is that I do have it with me all of the time. that’s normal right?

I love being a pastor of a mobile church.

Thanks to the Teachers

I asked the question on my Church’s Facebook page,  “who was an impactful teacher in your life and why?”

Not wanting to shirk the responsibility of answering my own question I began to think.  And think, and think.  The list is too long so I decided to write a post about a few of the teachers in my life.  and the way that they have shaped my view of the world.  Many will not remember the little kid with the bowl cut sitting quietly.  But it did (eventually) get the point.

Thanks to…

  • Mrs. Socks (kindergarden) teaching me the value of a quick nap in the middle of the day
  • Mrs Routzan (5th grade) teaching me that teachers are real people.  I was friends with her boys and they lived just up the street.  Did you know that teachers don’t sleep at the school? I know it blew my mind too.
  • Mr. Wazneski (6th grade math) teaching me that it is not only the product but the process that matters in life. I didn’t like showing my work while solving the equations.  Even through they were right we talked about the importance of the process.  This was not just for partial credit if the end was wrong but because following the path set out before us is a good thing (to a point)
  • Mr. Thorton (8th grade Social studies) Teaching me the importance of current events.  We had to go to a wall where that days newspaper was stapled and answer 5 questions from that day’s news.  I think it was a great excuse for him to read the paper on school time, but it also ingrained in me an appreciation for the news ans journalism.
  • Mrs. Officer (Middle school home economics) teaching me how to sew and cook a few meals.  I have patched not only clothes, but kayak skirts, blown sidewalls on my mountain bike tires and countless other things.  Also when the girls are not at the house I can always make an egg in a frame.
  • Mrs. Bohn (HS English) for teaching me about the world of creative writing and story telling. Even when I ain’t so good at grammar.
  • Mr. Wilson (sunday school teacher, physics teacher and lacrosse coach) teaching me what it is to be a man of God while being a fierce competitor.
  • Mrs. Stone (High School psychology) for opening the doors to a field that continues to fascinate me.  And we got to dissect a sheep’s brain.
  • Sue Schneider (my youth pastor) for the long conversations and tollerance of my dumb choices.
  • The Psychology department at Shepherd University for teaching me about reasearch methods and how to ask good questions.  For engaging in conversation rather than just teaching from the cirriculim.
  • Stephen Gallaher (my youth ministry professor in seminary) for showing what grace in ministry is lived like! What an amazing guy.  Especially when you turn the clocks forward 30 min. during class.
  • Pastor Susan For encouraging my call and mentoring me along the way.
  • Finally… My parents (Peg and Gib) for teaching me more than I could ever know

There are many others but as I look back today I think about the blessing of the book learning and the life lessons those who have crossed my path have blessed me with.

Many thanks to all of those who teach.  May this coming school year be one of wonder, exploration and new discoveries for you and your students.

Cozy coffeehouse

After a great workout at the gym I am at my second office and it is beautiful. The windows seem frosted with condensation, there is no one here and the smell and sounds of a coffee shop are intoxicating. It is going to be a great day.

Introverted Pastors Conversations

I have to admit to you that I am an introvert pure and simple.

So the past couple of weeks have had more lunch/coffeehouse meetings than ever it seems like.  Today was no exception and proved to have some really neat conversation and lots of variety.  So i thought I would just share conversations from today:

  • Breakfast coffee:  Talk about the directory we are working on and how it is an important tool for FP
  • post coffee in the coffee house: challenges of syncing on demand video between thousands of people.
  • Gym conversation: need for a variety of different workouts
  • Lunch meeting: micro biology and the neat findings through research with termites.
  • Checking out while getting snack for FCA: Love of Lead Zeppelin and a longing for 8-track players to come back….seriously
  • FCA: why middle schoolers have a hard time listening to their parents
  • Finance meeting: Why there is a strange slot in Jeff’s new laptop
  • With our admin: How to better understand and utilize the facebook news feed algorithm for more views of our page.
  • Finally, Emails about chainsaws and clearing trees

It was a rather interesting day of conversation.  I love my job.