Yeah . . . it's Doug but I'm posting for Eden who sent me an email from Costa Rica. Here is what she said: "i am feeling happy to be with my family, but i miss having all of you here and being able to talk about what happens each day and such"
Hang in there, Tim! Give yourself time. What you are thinking and feeling is normal and expected. You know and I know God will help you sort it out. Talk it through with "safe" friends and walk with God. In missions work de-briefing is often considered a low priority when in fact it is one of the more important things we do with our students and ourselves. It only took me 15 missions trips to realize this! Praying for you! You will never be fully "over" your experience there. God has given you a bigger heart.
I love Jr. High leaders who know how to play, be a pastor, are not afraid to relate with the parents, and are not consumed with producing neat and tidy Jr. Highers who are fully developed in their faith (sorry, that's not possible). If they are happy "planting seeds," building a foundation and investing in the lives of these youth we will have a fun adventure together and Christ will be honored.
Right on, Chris! A balanced teaching of the basics is so important. We all like variety but repetition of the basics in a creative way helps to embed the seed deep. Considering most communications people say we need to "receive" something at least seven times in order to get it I doubt we will ever overcommunicate any fundamentals of the Christian faith.
I believe we can never do enough training on character issues and time management
Sorry for the delayed response David. I have been out of town on meetings. It is the 30 minutes before students show. We have some students who show while we are meeting but they are right next door and we break before the bulk of the group shows.
For some staff it is a push to show a little earlier but most are there within five minutes of the start time. They like not having to come out an extra night and so are willing to make this work.
Right on, Sara! People make time for things they really want to do. I always use the illustration if somebody were to offer an all expenses paid trip to Hawaii for us leaving a week from today we would do everything possible to make that happen. When we say we don't have time for something we are almost always saying it's not high enough on my priority list for me to make the time. I'm for time management, creating margins, boundaries and priorities but not having time is mostly not an authentic excuse.
Great words, Kelly! Thanks for the comment, David . . . you make a good point. It certainly depends on the culture of the community. Both Kelly and I operate in a tourist town a successful, collaborative "big event" is rare sponsored by any age level of participating churches. Other communities are different. This is where knowing each other and translating the culture becomes so valuable.
I have found it best to identify another church or two who want to do something together. If others want to join us they are more than welcome but at least we have a "critical mass" for planning and implementation.
Kelly would also tell you our network team meeting effectiveness has been a "roller coaster" over the years. Some years we have great participation and others we just have the faithful few. As network coordinator for the area I do my best to build relationships with everybody but am often surprised by the lack of buy-in to giving up one hour a month for lunch to be with teammates.
What network frustrations do you deal with in your area? What works best for you in getting others to own networking as a necessity?
I've used the Q and A time with adults before. Works well and I need to get back to it.
Jeremy, I really liked your line, "The church leadership may need to realize that there is a lack of student integration during the Sunday services." It is really easy to listen to the loudest and most articulate voices in the church when it comes to music and aesthetic choices in worship. If an older adult doesn't like a particular style they can state an argument pretty well. If one of the youth is courageous enough to speak up they can easily get drowned out. I'm happy our church is starting to understand, even more, how important it is to integrate our youth, college students and young adults.
Tim, thanks for saying this. I have been saying this and slowing down for years. People ask me how I have stayed in youth ministry for 30 years and why I have long-term volunteers. Part of the answer is found in the summer slow down. I hear way too many youth pastors who gear up in the summer and then wonder why they are feeling so burned out. I will be printing this out to use with our volunteer staff as an affirmation.
Thanks for your good thinking.