A Daughter’s Poem- God’s Call

September 17, 2009

OnlookerThis is a poem that my daughter wrote after her devotions a few days ago.  When I saw it I asked her if I could share it with the world.  The LOGOS Ministry has always focused on discerning God’s call.  I am sure it is no accident that a lifetime LOGOS kid would experience that as well.

A Voice, a Call, that Reigns Most of All-by Kiersten

Do you hear it?

It’s a whisper and a clamor.

It’s a voice filled with power speaking upon the hour.

Do you hear it?

A tender voice calling you by name.  A voice that can send gentle chills down your spine.

It say’s you are mine.

Do you hear it?

In your heart it resonates, “Be still and know”

Only some may hear it.  Only some may recognize it.

It’s not just a few words, but a life calling, a way of life.

It’s not an ordinary conversation.

But the voice that in the beginning spoke the foundation.

Do you hear it?

Shhh, listen.  It’s Him. The God of the Universe asking you to listen eagerly to His love.

I can hear it. Can you?


4 Things Youth Want in Youth Ministry

September 11, 2009

Smiling teenagerSo often we think we have to make youth ministry so spectacular that they won’t be drawn away by the distractions of the world around us.  However, youth and many of those who study the culture of youth tell us that is just not true.  So why do we continue to think that bigger is better and spectacular is special?

So, here are 4 things that are key for youth today.

1. Focus on Relationships- studies from secular to faith based tell us that small groups of invested relationships are better for learning, involvement, development and growth than large “you all come” gatherings.

2. Focus on Involvement- these relationships should create a sense of belonging to the larger body of the church.  Be intentional about creating  inter-generational relationships that involve the youth in relationships, leadership and the life of the body of Christ.

3. Focus on Service- everyone wants their life to count for something and to make a difference.  Young people today especially desire to be able to participate in causes that make a difference.  Use this time of service to both support the cause and build the inter-generational relationships.

4. Focus on Faith- young people are not coming to church to be entertained.  They want answers to tough questions.  They want to know whether there is a bigger purpose in life.  They are seeking questions about their faith that can be best addressed through the comfort of deep, honest, intimate relationships by mature adults with experience. Remember they are all at different stages.  Don’t try to reach them all with the same message and method.

All of this is to say, youth ministry is a serious and complex ministry that takes a lot of planning, dedication and intention.

Getting Kids Involved Matters

August 20, 2009

kids-involvedI was at the ONE conference for Youth and Children’s Ministry Leaders last week.  One of the prerequisites for attending was your Senior Pastor had to attend.  I went with my church and my Senior Pastor.  To set the framework, Perry Noble opened with a keynote address.  Perry spoke strongly on these seven key issues about Youth and Children’s Ministry.

  1. Youth and Children’s Ministry has more potential than any other ministry in the church. (Most people make a decision for Christ before they are 18 so every dime spent on them is money spent on mission).
  2. Healthy Youth and Children’s Ministry must be supported by the Senior Pastor with time and money. (Youth and children’s ministry should be one of the best resourced areas of the church)
  3. Senior Pastor needs to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.  (Do you want to try to control the movement of God in young people or unleash it?)
  4. Age Appropriate Environment matters.  It should be inviting, comfortable and fun.  (if it is not fun then that means it is the opposite, which is boring)
  5. Keep it simple- Have a clear and contagious vision
  6. Tension and conflict between ministries must always be addressed. (unresolved tension is sinful)
  7. CALL (his words not mine) the right people to the right places in youth and children’s ministry NOT according to their wants and desires but according to gifts needed and their passion to serve.

We need to work together to help churches put a priority on children and youth in the church.  In the Summer 2009 edition of Leadership Journal, Kara Powell from Fuller Theological Seminary says, “At this point in our research, we’ve found that one thing that really makes a difference is getting kids actively involved in the life of the church before they graduate.”

The key is let’s invest- time, money, relationships, the church- in the life of children and youth so they might grow up to be life-long disciples of Jesus Christ.

The Hope for Children is the Church

April 17, 2009

In his book, Courageous Leadership, Bill Hybels says, “The local church is the hope of the world.”   In the last week, I have experienced the truth of that message in two different settings.   I experienced it in such a powerful way that it has caused me to reflect on how the local church is the hope for our children and their future.

First was on Good Friday.  My family and I piled into the car Friday evening to head to a church 50 minutes away to see a musical Passion Play based on DaVinci’s famous portrait of Jesus’ final meal with His disciples.

We had no idea what to expect but from the moment the children,  youth, and adults came running in with palm branches followed by Roman Guards and then Jesus on a horse, I knew that this was going to be something special.  For the next two hours we watched as men held a frozen state just like Da Vinci’s painting, only breaking their pose to step out in character and remember the life of Jesus.  It was spectacular.

However, what made it more spectacular was we were in a rural church in western Pennsylvania not a mega- church in the suburbs.  For 12 years this church and community has poured their heart out into this production to offer it 4 nights of Holy Week to more than 1200 people.  Who says there isn’t vital ministry in rural areas?  Not only did children, youth and adult participate as characters but it engaged every person of every age in the audience that night.  And as if the presentation was not enough, at the end was an explanation of God’s proposal to each of us for a purposeful and meaningful relationship. Thank you Pastor John and Grace UMC.

The second example of hope I lift up is the church I attend, Charter Oak Church.  Easter Sunday was the kick off of a new series, ” You Don’t Have What It Takes”  which is based on a circus strong man theme.  Not only was this totally engaging for ALL ages but it rang true the real message of  EaStrong Manster, it is through Christ that we have forgiveness and new life not through anything we do.  However, we all fall into the performance trap where we try to earn our way to heaven, even though we aren’t good enough and never will be.  All of us fall short.  When I realize that God accepts me through Jesus, I am no longer living for God’s approval but from God’s approval.  Good people don’t go to heaven, forgiven people do.  Thanks to Pastor Chris for a powerful message.

Both of these local church stories give me such a strong hope for our young people because both churches worked hard to be purposeful, practical and impactful for every generation and not just for one or two.  They were a true every generation experience and message of the Gospel.

LOGOS Started through Webinar Training

March 17, 2009

Online LearningAt a prayer meeting last week one of our fathers was bursting with joy and pride. His daughter, an eight year old who had been attending our church for four years, came home from our first night of LOGOS so excited that she wanted her parents to buy her a Bible so that she can learn more about God. That is our hope and dream for the ministry of LOGOS and on our first night, March 4th we saw many kids from our church and neighborhood experience a deeper, more vibrant and fun time with Jesus and our church family. We are a small church of about 150 members at Christ Presbyterian Church in Lakewood, California. We had twenty one kids show up for the first night and they are excited to come back and learn more about God, have fun and spend time with their friends!

Our team had been meeting and praying for months to launch this ministry. Each week we saw the Lord lead us to a new idea and a new volunteer. Each time we gathered we sensed God’s leading and presence and the people we approached were filled with joy at the thought of God using them to shape the lives of our youngsters.

We decided to have a prize for the end of our first session of five weeks. The kids get points for memorizing scripture, bringing their Bible, bringing friends and for participating in the theme of the night. The top three point winners will get a night out with our LOGOS coordinators.We thought bowling would be a good motivation and the kids are excited to participate. We used bowling themes for our tables for the meal portion and have made the dinner very fun and energetic. Our leaders have a deep desire to show the kids the love of Christ. We as a church Praise the Lord for this ministry and are looking forward to what God is going to do in the coming weeks, months and years!

This blog article was written by Michelle Conan, Coordinator of LOGOS for Christ Presbyterian Church, Lakewood, CA where there are 24 students from kindergarten through grade twelve in LOGOS after their FIRST NIGHT! Christ Presbyterian trained their volunteers through the LOGOS webinars on line.

The Name Game

February 27, 2009

nametagIf you’re on facebook, you’ve probably seen or played the name game where you create new names for yourself based on specific directions. For example, your “witness protection name” is made by combining your mother and father’s middle names. Your “superhero name” is your second favorite color, your favorite drink, and then you add “the” to the beginning. Try it! It’s especially fun with a group of people.

We all know that names are important. In fact, The LOGOS Ministry was begun by a man who, when he was younger, couldn’t seem to do much right in the eyes of the church. That all changed with a new pastor who called him by name!

Our names identify us and even define us. That was even more the case in Jesus’s day when your name really did express what kind of character or personality you had. There are many stories in the Bible of name changes and they are usually linked to a new mission, or direction or promise. Abram’s name was changed to Abraham, Jacob was changed to Israel, and Simon was changed to Peter.

Well, I was thinking about names the other night while at our LOGOS program. I saw two visitors, each whom I had met before but who didn’t know me well at all. The first was a high school student. I greeted her at dinner with, “Hi Julie! How are you?” She looked at me with huge eyes and asked, “How did you know my name?” I told her it was because she had been to LOGOS before! She still was pretty blown away! Then in the hallway I saw a fifth grader who had lived across the street from me a couple of years ago and I said, “Hey Laurie! Thanks for coming to Buddy Night! We wish you’d come every night to LOGOS!” She was just as surprised and opened right up to tell me about her evening. At the end of LOGOS she caught my eye and smiled and said, “Good bye!” How amazing it is to “do ministry” just by remembering and using names! It’s not always easy to do, but it does always make a difference.

LOGOS Conference-A Student’s Perspective

February 17, 2009

Here is a college essay that a student wrote about her Experience at LOGOS Summer Youth Conference.  It is an incredible testimony of the experience.  In her words, ” The Conference changed my life in so many different ways. I thank God for LOGOS!”   Read on and find out about one’s persons connection with God.

Estes Park, Colorado is a sight to be seen. The drive from Indiana is certainly a long one, but once you get out there, the sight alone is worth it. The mountains make you feel like you are just an ant on an anthill, minute compared to your surroundings. The environment there is unlike anything I had experienced in Indiana. The sights and sounds of Colorado are not better than those of Indiana; they are just different. There are endless possibilities to learn, explore, and grow, in both places. I had no clue at that time as to how the experience in Estes Park would alter my outlook on life.

During the summers of 2006 and 2007 I traveled with my church youth group (Logos) to Estes Park for The LOGOS Ministry Youth Conference. Our church youth met with other church youth from around the nation to spend a week with each other at the YMCA Camp. The purpose of the time spent there was to strengthen our bond with God.

I had no clue what to expect. Upon arriving, I realized that it was nothing like I had imagined. I thought it was going to be just another place to meet new people, play games and have a good time. It was that, plus more. It was a beautiful place, but what made it even more beautiful was the fact that people treated each other like they knew them; there were no strangers.

The week went so quickly it felt like 2 days. That was probably because our week was so jammed packed with activities. Activities the whole camp participated in included Choir, Bible Study, Energizers, and Recreation. We also took outings with our own church group up into the mountains or into town.

While I was up there I had so many different feelings. Everyone there treated me like I was a child of God. I felt unified as one. There was no negativity. I felt like I had known these people my whole life. The emotions and feelings that I had were just unexplainable, but left me with a deeper connection to God.

The last night on the mountain we had a candlelight service. It was the most awe-inspiring candlelight service I had ever experienced. It wrapped the week up, summarizing everything that we had learned and experienced into one night. It hit me like a ton of bricks. I had experienced so many new and uncommon emotions that week. I did not want to think about the end of my time spent there. I did not want to go home and leave this perfect place.

My second summer came up fast, and I could not wait to go back to that Utopia. The day finally came to go back to Estes Park with the benefits of seeing all of my old friends and that amazing view. When my church group arrived at Estes Park I felt like I had never left; I was home. The emotions welled up inside, and reminded me of last summer.

The second week ended up being even better than the first week spent there. I knew what to expect and what to do. Everything was basically the same, but yet it ended up somewhat different: new people, experiences, sights and sensations.

While I was in Estes Park, the feeling I had was different from any other feeling I have ever had before. I felt free but safe: surrounded by love, friends, family, and God all at once. As I climbed up the mountain I became closer to God. The bond that I had with him was magnified. On my journey down the mountain I realized that I had grown as a person and my life was forever changed. I had always been taught that everyone was a child of God. This was the first time I had seen it demonstrated in my life by others in such a big way. I will no longer perceive life in the same light.