I have been working as the Generation Pastor at Journey in addition to my job as High School Pastor for about a year now and it has produced some opportunities to bring continuity to our whole team in ways I never saw coming. Today we kicked off 2012 with a lunch to thank our volunteers who work with everything from infants through twenty-somethings. There were well over 100 people there and that was less than half our team who could come, but dang... what a great celebration and reminder of how wide spread our influence really is.
At one point we celebrated those who have worked in any of those age brackets as a volunteer for any length of time. In the end we discovered that we have one volunteer who has worked over 19 years in our ministry. In the process I realized that his 20 year old son who still serves in our adult service worship band and now part-time on our facilities staff is a case text for someone who was literally shaped in part by ever single volunteer team represented in the room. His son was involved in everything from nursery at 9 months to our college-age ministry today. WOW! What a picture of shared influence and baton passing and true community in process. Cool to realize as we prayed over one another here below.
Several times in our lunch I got a little overwhelmed with God's goodness and how thankful I am for a team to work with. To this end, there are 3 main things that we're doing as a whole generations team to connect that have all proved super worth it.
GENERATION VOLUNTEER APPRECIATION/TRAINING MEETINGS: So far they've been twice a year. Once in January to kick off a new season after the holidays and once in August to restart the fall after our summer slows down. We meet after church on Sunday for 90 minutes. We provide lunch, encouragement, laughter, celebration, information, and training in small bits during this packed program. They each have proved to be so worth our effort and a great reminder that our "own area" is not the only place people are serving at JCC.
GENERATION PAID STAFF TEAM MEETINGS: I meet with our kids ministry team on Wednesday and our student ministry team on Tuesday each week and about 4x a year I meet with all of them together. In our weekly meetings we sometimes gather over java, talk about the week ahead and the weekend before, and talk about anything down the road that we need to be collaborating on. In our all-team meetings, we share about our lives, enjoy a meal, and spend several hours mapping out values, events, long term plans, and vision.
GENERATION FAMILY EVENTS: These are geared largely towards our high school and below, but we've been doing some family events that are super kid friendly. So far we've landed on this schedule:
- Mid November: Generous Family Night celebration where families come to worship, enjoy a teaching or skit, and then serve a family in need together through various hands on experience stations.
- Weekend after Easter: Family Fun Day. We sell lunch, provide jumpy houses and carnival rides, do a fund raiser by selling donated goods and services in a silent auction. The funds raised go to offset the cost of camps and retreats and provide a great after service event for families at our church too.
- Spring: Help Us Help You community service day where families can pay to have our students come and do yard work at homes. We've also done garage sales and car washes in tandem with this day, but this year I think we're doing yard work only. We take teams of 6 students and 2 adults. They do two shifts of two hours each and are paid $150 or higher for their time. Families get some Spring cleaning done and we raise funds again to offset cost of camps for students.
- Mid to late July: Summer Fun Camp. This is a "vbs" replacement of sorts. We do a 1/2 day camp from 9 to 2 for a week where kinder-5th grade kids are connected with high school counselors and enjoy a fun and encouraging program with day trips to various afternoon locations around our community. Fun way for many of our generations team to work together for a common goal.
So blessed to be on this team. Praying that all of this truly goes to shaping Generation who understands, owns, and lives out a life changing faith in Jesus.