Those of you who know me well know that some of my greatest joys in life are found in music and youth ministry. I have recently, as of September 1st, taken over a youth program at the Winchester First United Methodist Church. I'm usually the kind of guy who hits the ground running, so that's exactly what I did.
In the last month, we have added our own version of small groups to Sundays, calling it the "Sunday Night Breakaway". It is there that we practice team building and our Word Up moment (a short devotional focusing on our relationship with God), followed by small groups that split the girls and guys up by grade level. Here is the banner I just had made to hang on the outside of the church:
Our main campus (the First UMC church building) has developed a satellite church at our local theater across town on Sundays at 9 a.m. Our Teen Fire logo is based on their logo:
We have also "taken over" the local coffee house on main street from 6-8 p.m. on Tuesday nights. The owner is a lady I know from singing there occasionally. She was so kind to let us come in and be loud and boisterous. I call it "The Tuesday Night Special" and it is an informal 2 hours of table games, music videos, great food, great coffee, wii on the big screen, loud music, and a Word Out moment (a short delivery of the Gospel, focusing on our relationship with each other). Rob Bell's NOOMA videos are great, as a side note. We've had numerous kids coming in off of the street to check us out. Last week Brent Vernon, a good friend of mine, was kind enough to come and minister to us. Once per month I have what is called Band of the Month (or artist). Three of us local crazies have formed a band (right now we are calling ourselves The No Names) and we started everything off by performing on 9/23. Brent came on 9/30 and REALLY got us started. His friend Sam was a little rusty but was a smash hit! :)
I've heard that the devil is in the details. Not true. God is in the details. I'm dumbfounded by the incredible amount of work that goes into a successful presentation of Christian fun and outreach. I love the results! Our motto is "Upword Focus, Outward Friendship". I wholly believe that we are all ministers of the Gospel, and that the most effective way we promote the Good News and bring others to Christ is through personal relationship. The whole purpose of the Great Commission lies in Christ's words, "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples . . ." (John 13:34-35)
Our motto is based on His words again, when he quotes Leviticus 19:18, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and will all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself". Upword Focus . . . Outward Friendship.
In the wings, I am also working on a skateboard ministry to local skaters. We have about 200 roaming the streets in our little town. Our High School has about 1800 students. I'm working with the powers that be to create a place where these kids can come to skate; a place that's sanctioned and safe. I'm calling it "Project 360 X Ministries" and will focus on the X-game generation.
All this and two days per week to do it in. I'm busy. Saturdays will come for the X Ministries. That's three days. On paper it looks exhausting. When I'm doing it, it is my joy. When each event is over, I crawl home to rest, then plan for the next one.
Just in what I am now doing, there are three demographics of young people I have to reach out to. I've got:
1. My existing kids, who are churched
2. Those kids who are un-churched, coming in off of the streets on Tuesday nights.
3. The X crowd - the bmx and skater kids.
God is good. I thank Him for the opportunity!