Last Saturday, we had our annual parent training seminar. We had about 85 parents come out for a half day of training and lunch catered from Pat and Oscars. We had some great parent feedback and this was another super sweet way for us to build some relationships and street cred with those who have not only kids in our program, but those with kids coming into our programs, and those with kids our youth ministry is missing too.
Christina (our middle school gal) and I taught on the value of teaching students how to think vs. what to think. Then Marko, the president of youth specialties, taught on adolescent brain development. Ed Noble, our teaching pastor at journey, then taught on what are some healthy and unhealthy patterns for parents while raising teens. As I was preparing for this, I came to the realization that collectively- the four of us share over 75 years of full time experience in working with teens. That's pretty sweet for a parent. I was definitely listening with my parent ears perked.
LEARNING FROM MARKO: I need to remember that this transition is a transition. I need to allow my boys to act like children while wanting to be treated like adults. Instead of seeing a hard fast line I need to cross, it's more like a fuzzy set of years I need to help them navigate. I pictured it like helping them go from freshwater (childhood) to salt water (adulthood), and being ok with the fact that there is a big chunk of brackish water in between. That brackish mix of saltwater and freshwater is natural for adolescents and I should expect them to show some movement towards adulthood, but allow them some experiences of childhood still too. That relieved a lot of pressure I was placing on myself.... seeing this transition as more abrupt than that in my head. He also said that the top three things we can do to help adolescent brain development from a scientific perspective are (1) give them plenty of sleep, (2) help them eat and exercise well, and (3) allow them to experience the consequences of both good and poor decisions, not shielding them from them. Great stuff.
LEARNING FROM ED: I need to keep the value of meeting with my boys one-on-one very high during this stage of their development. There will be a direct one-to-one relationship between their experiences with me as their Dad today with the ease or difficulty I will have in maintaining those patterns in their teen years. If I expect or desire healthy connection with them in their teen years, I better keep at it now or it'll only get harder as the years go on and their lives get more and more busy.
Then, on Sunday we launched our new dating series in our high school group- something we do every February along the "love is in the air time" of valentines day.
Sarah and I team taught on the differences between men and women and why dating relationships can sometimes be so hard. And hold on... we had 108 students show up in one service. More than any other service in 3 years here. And the coolest part, visitors are starting to stick. We have several students who have been coming for 5 or 6 weeks now. SO awesome!!! One of our "fringe students" texted me after service and said, "I just wanted to say that was a good service". I wrote back, "Sweet. I dug it too. Thanks for coming." He then said, "Ya, it really stuck out to me". I thought that was so great. What a great thing to hear from a student. I pray that God's voice sticks out to every student in our ministry.
Oh.. and Friday, I took the student from my last posting out for breakfast and after our conversation, he went home and decided to give his life to Jesus. He's now purposefully and intentionally following Jesus and looking for help in that process. So cool.
I don't often have ministry weekends that go so amazing that I feel like I should announce them from the mountain top. But this last one was one for the books. Hopefully we can keep this ball rolling.
Monday, February 04, 2008