With this kiddos all tucked in bed, or at least in their rooms,I find myself wanting something to do at 12:15am. I know I should sleep, but it is hard with a room to myself and I haven’t gone though the night time routine with Eden and Katie.
Because the gym was closed I took some time to make a little reading nook (a more mature way of saying fort out of sheets) where I am going to crash and read.
I am just reminded that this small group of students we have with us is such a blessing. There are time in ministry where I really feel blessed to be a pastor. Sharing this weekend journey with them is one of those times.
I came across a resource the other day that is really great.
If you have ever been to a conference and wanted to go to all of the sessions and workshops but couldn’t you know hard it is to choose which one to go to and which to miss out on. Or even worse you can’t go to the conference because you can’t get the time off, there is a huge something or other going on with your family or the cost is just too great.
Well the folks who put on the Simply Youth Ministry conference are here to make available all of the session and main stage talks. You can find any number of resources that you missed out on or that you are interested in. I have found a couple that I am going to download and soak up on my way to work. Check out the great teachings of this youth worker conference. Click here to see the hundreds of sessions to download
I have my tent set and ready to go. We have less that 30 minutes before the students come for our Homeless For a Night event and I am really excited about what all we are going to be doing.
I always get nervous at this time before an event. Pray for the students, our guest speaker, our leaders, the community, and all of those who struggle to get enough to eat and have no place to call home.
Here are some fact s about hunger from our area. Thanks to one of our students for finding them.
82 children in Middletown live under the poverty level
1,140 people in Frederick face homelessness every year
Nationwide, 3.5 million people experience homelessness
1 in every 190 people use a homeless shelter at least once a year
The main cause of homelessness is lack of affordable housing, while the next three biggest causes are mental illness or a lack of needed services, substance abuse or a lack of needed services, and low-paying jobs
42.8% of all homeless people are disabled, mentally or physically
Between 1999 and 2005, crimes committed against homeless people has risen 30%
There are about 51,000 homeless people in NYC
The Frederick Cold Weather Shelter provided for 234 people in 2009
Homeless students are 1.5x more likely to perform below grade-level in reading, 1.5x in spelling, and 2.5x in math.
Here is a story from the guys over at Group publishing about the things youth report needing in their lives. I thought that it was in interesting result. Also I think that it shows the importance of faith relationships, and puts the pressure of Christian educators to have some clear and drawn out plan of spiritual growth for youth and adults.
Take a look and let me know your thoughts.
Teenagers’ Top Needs
We asked Christian teenagers to scan a list of 20 “needs” in their life, then rank them from one to seven according to how strongly they’d like that need to be met. The lower the number, the higher the desire for the need to be met. We wanted them to differentiate between “dying” needs and “nice to have but not that important” needs. Here’s how the numbers added up….
Top Needs (Description) Teenagers (Average)
1. I need help building a positive relationship with God
2. I need help building a positive relationship with my parents
3. I need help managing or dealing with the stresses in my life
4. I need someone to help me answer some of my big doubts
about the Christian faith
5. I need help understanding the Christian faith better
6. I need help in knowing how to share my faith with friends and others
7. I need help with my academics
8. I need help figuring out my future choices (college, job, career, marriage, etc)
9. I need help dealing with depression
10. I need help with my overwhelming commitments
11. I need help dealing with the pain I feel in life
12. I need help developing more and better friendships
13. I need help ending my dependence on drugs or alcohol or tobacco
14. I need help with making better moral choices in my life
15. I need help in receiving forgiveness for things I’ve done
16. I need help with living a healthier lifestyle—eating better and exercising
17. I need help with time management and discipline in my life
18. I need help resolving conflicts
19. I need help sorting out sexual issues (sexual activity, gender issues, homosexuality, etc.)
20. I need help with girlfriend/boyfriend issues
In general, the way kids ranked these needs primes the pump for cynicism among youth workers who see a big disconnect between the “God stuff” teenagers elevated to the top of the list and the topical stuff that settled out on the bottom. Typical is this assessment of the survey by Andrea Vincent of Michigan, who’s a volunteer youth worker by night and an assistant research professor by day:
I was so struck by the wonder and magic of Disney that I wanted to post something. Time has been flying by since we got back from Disney, but it was a wonderful trip. Basically I wanted to post a short little video with the question, “What if we approached ministry with the passion Disney approaches putting magic into people’s lives?”
Take a look. Sorry the stills are so poor looking but you get the point and can see some on Flickr in a little bit. Most important is that you comment on how you would like to put wonder back in the ministries you are a part of.
As the weather has been getting colder this year I have been trying to get back into a running routine. For the past couple of years my fitness has been limited to the basement and my bike trainer. This is because when I have tried to run or bike outside when it is cold outside I have the hardest time trying to breath.
So this year I attacked the seasons change with renewed vigor and decided that I needed a game plan. So I have been gradually running further and further as the weather has been getting colder and colder. Yesterday I went on a run for about five miles or so in temperatures in the mid 20’s. Not the most exciting thing, I know, but it was for me.
I know that without thinking ahead I wouldn’t have been able to magically run in the colder weather. Another part of the puzzle is that I am dressing smarter. These clothes help keep the wind off of my core and keep me warm so that I don’t feel asthmatic when I run.
As we enter the new year and we have all kinds of resolutions, we need to have a plan to get were we want to be. We need to be willing to train to meet the goals we set, and we need to think about the tools we will clothe ourselves with so that we can be as successful as possible.
This year I am reading through my bible as another way to train in my faith life. I have a great translation of scripture, the new living translation, and a reading plan to keep pace of the year. I am excited about this addition to my daily reading because this adds a different kind of purpose to my daily devotion and it makes sure I read a well rounded selection of scripture rather than just my personal favorites.
This new year may you train well and dedicate your selves to meeting your goals.