Game Plan: Having a successful year of serving!

So you are a volunteer, serving in student ministry. Here are some very practical ways to have a successful experience.

 

Who: do we serve… [Jesus & Others]
Game Plan: Building your personal relationship with Jesus
* praying for God to give you His Spirit, His desires, His eyes
* spending time reading His Word, Knowing Him through scripture
* talking about Him with older adults and ministry partners

Game Plan: The Individuals In your ministry… (Middle schoolers, parents, team members)
* through Christ like kindness
* through showing care
* one person at a time

How: do we serve… Relationships = Christ centered mentoring relationships
Game Plan: friendship with a purpose: Being there when they (finally) have “Jesus Questions”

Barriers that prevent us from “being there” when they finally build trust and need our help to point them to Jesus:
* drama
* learning their names
* showing them we care
* they don’t seem to care that we care
* they think we are weird
* trustworthiness

Overcoming:
* remembering who we serve
* not taking “insults” personally
* continuing to purse the relationship
* prayer
* teamwork: get other students to help you build your family in your team & small group

Why: do we do this…
Focus: You are His Plan A
Nobody else has stepped up to stand in the Gap and show Christ love to our students like you have, yet… He chose YOU, even with your flaws and some of you with your awkwardness and funny spells… Your Plan A to reaching out and showing His love to the students at WCH.

Focus: The Next Generation Needs You
When you think about building a Christ centered relationship with a student at our church don’t think of it as a small thing… The relationships you make have the power through Christ to change futures and generations, as we are where God has called us to be to bring His Hope to this generation…

What Does Success Look Like: Being apart of God’s Plan to draw students close to His heart… 

 

 

 

 

* This content was presented at WCH: Pinnacle Leadership Event 2014

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Reality Check for the Most Important Relationship of Your Life!

New Year Prayer Guide

1. Adoration: Praising God for who He is

Read & Reflect:
Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. (Ephesians 2:1, 2, 4, 5, 8 NLT)

God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. (Psalms 46:1 NLT)

Pray that God would give you a greater understanding of His Word.
Pray for God to place a desire in your heart to know Him and be known by Him
Pray that you may better realize how much God loves you and what He has done for you.

2. Confession: Releasing to God your sins
Read & Reflect:

If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts. (1 John 1:8-10 NLT)

People who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy. (Proverbs 28:13 NLT)

Talk to God about the sins you have knowingly committed this weekend.
Talk to God about any sins you find yourself repeating.
Talk to God about any relationships that have been broken because of sin… (Gossip, lies, unforgiveness)

3. Thanksgiving: Thank God for all He has done.
Reflect on these verses:

Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping him with holy fear and awe. (Hebrews 12:28 NLT)

And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. (Colossians 2:6, 7 NLT)

List 10 blessings in your life, pray and thank God for them.
Pray that Jesus would help you to have a more thankful heart in 2014 than 2013.
Pray and Thank God for His Son and life we have because of His Life, Death & Resurrection.

4. Supplication: Asking, making requests to God

Read & Reflect:
Take delight in the Lord , and he will give you your heart’s desires. (Psalms 37:4 NLT)

Give your burdens to the Lord , and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall. (Psalms 55:22 NLT)

So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most. (Hebrews 4:16 NLT)

Pray for boldness to have great conversations with God this year, talking to Him like a best friend.
Pray for any requests you may have.
Pray for Jesus give you hope for the new year and a glimpse of how He wants to grow in you and move through you!

Write a Letter To God:
Hide the Letter and find it in July. (We gather the letters and mail them out in July)

Step #1: Write about your current relationship with God. Think about God as a friend, Would you say you are close friends or distant? Write about why you think that.

Step #2: Write about the relationship with God you want to have. Are there areas you need to grow in? Are there areas of your life you have not fully surrendered to Him? Write about how you want the relationship to be at the end of 2014.

Step #3: Write out a few easy action steps that will help you move in the direction of where you want your relationship with God to be. Write out an action plan.

*If you are brave, write out on a separate sheet of paper & share your action plan with a trusted friend and pray for them throughout this year!

Everyone was thinking it, Nobody said anything… Hopefully you will listen…

MIDDLE SCHOOLERS: These pictures floating around saying SHARE if you love Jesus… If three of the four pictures do not represent Jesus (examples: porn, Satan, insert inappropriate image)

In no way does the sharing of these photos show you love Jesus…
We don’t prove our love for Jesus through the sharing of a Facebook photo anyways…

PLEASE WATCH WHAT YOU SHARE…. Read Philippians 4:8 before you shareANYTHING if you need a filter….

Better than not sharing, it would serve you well just un-friend those picture sites, and don’t waste time looking at those things…

Oh yeah and… “Shut up and Kiss me” – That phrase is said by NO happily married couple EVER…

RUN DRAMA!!! SAVE YOURSELF!!!!

Through the StormBeing a Middle School Pastor I see many students involved in dramatic experiences. I am writing this blog to offer three ways for you the Middle School Student to avoid engaging in drama So here goes:-)

The first understand is THAT: Drama doesn’t find YOU, You find DRAMA… 

To truly avoid DRAMA you must decide NOT to listen to rumors. When that guy or girl calls and you know they have dirt on everyone and they love to share it, Ignore the call!!! Don’t return the TXT message… This will help you because you wont believe all the lies and rumors that are started. BUT this will also help because it will force the Drama King or Queen to stop talking about other people, because nobody will listen to them. Drama finds you every time you listen instead of ignoring the rumor source.

The second: Don’t treat your friendships like cool wrapping paper.

Birthdays & Christmas gifts are awesome but have you ever thought about how you see the presents and they are cool looking… But the moment you get what you want out of it the wrapping paper is tossed and you never want to see it again. To often I see Middle School Students treating each other in this way. Remember: YOU ALL HAVE FEELINGS. The faster you pick up and dump friends the more you get hurt and hurt each other. When you have friendships that hit hiccups and times get rough, communicate with the source, value your friendship enough to speak to your friends directly.

Lastly, Don’t be a Drama King or Queen….

I know this sounds simple and obvious but the truth is… If you want people to like you and you want to be a positive influence in the lives of people, you must be TRUSTWORTHY… You must prove over and over to have the character of trustworthiness… I have heard it said that trust takes a lifetime to build and second to loose. When people tell you things in confidence, keep them in confidence, when you notice things about people that could be juicy gossip, don’t share it… Keep their confidence (Unless its a situation where someone is getting hurt, then you need to talk with a TRUSTED ADULT).

Remember, in Middle School, your world is like the shifting sand in the sea…  Drama will come and go but warning to the ones who allow it to start and those who don’t stop it… You will get a reputation that will be nearly impossible to shake…

Pastor Tom

The Wesleyan Church of Hamburg: Middle School Pastor 

Dump Trucks and Dirt: A conversation about student ministry

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Have you ever looked at a dump truck and thought about its job. If you would, humor me for a moment. Inside most dump trucks is often dirt, not always but for the sake of our conversation, its dirt. Do you ever consider the humbling dirt to truck ratio. Again, please humor me. The standard dump truck can carry a load of dirt weighing in somewhere around 32 tons. Everywhere the dump truck travels it will pass, dirt, lots and lots of dirt. There is dirt everywhere. I had a thought the other day as it relates to this daydream. I thought to myself “I wonder if the dump truck often questions if it is really making an impact?” I think its a valid question when you take into consideration, the dirt to dump truck ratio and just how much the truck is outnumbered by the millions if not zillions, tons of dirt in our world.
This crazy day dream illustrates well how some often think about when it comes to Middle School Ministry in the church. We have a few leaders (The dump trucks) and many students (The Dirt). This thinking often leads some to bury their head in the literal dirt and hope the problem figures itself out. Still others see this opportunity as a challenge to make a difference even if for only a small pile of dirt.

Our church is blessed to be infiltrated with many quality dump trucks in our Middle School Ministry. These are trusted adults who Love Jesus and Love our students. Trusted adults who sacrifice their time every week to make an impact in the Kingdom of God. These adults are involved in: Sunday Mornings as Small Group Leaders. Tuesday Nites as Team Leaders, Competition Team Leaders and Hospitality Team leaders. Saturday Nites as Security Team, Dodgeball Organizers, Snack Shop servers and Front Door supervisors. We are very blessed.

Recently, a student was in a disagreement with another student, this disagreement was keeping them from attending DRIVE (Tuesday Nites, 7-9pm, Shameless plug). When confronted about this, I graciously offered that I would move him to a different team if it would bring him back. When given this opportunity the student responded: “Move the other people to a different team, my team leader is awesome.” This leader, this dump truck is doing more than moving dirt around, this leader is making a kingdom impact.
If I could brag about our leaders for a moment. Our leaders care deeply for our kids! They are always coming up with creative ways to help our students know that they are loved. Simple things like: just being present, laughing with them, setting up a volleyball nets to play together, listening to them with passion and conviction to the struggles facing their generation, baking cookies, sending messages of encouragement throughout the week, leading them to God’s word in times of doubt, learning their names, and most importantly building trust to earn the right to speak about the Hope of Jesus in their own lives. Our leaders are on the front lines to see the realities of sin in our world and our Powerful God at work in the lives of our students. Our leaders are committed to helping students take their next steps in following Jesus with a lifelong faith. Because of our dump trucks and their commitment to serving our students our ministry is successful. One thing I can say with complete confidence about our ministry team is that when students attend they leave knowing they are loved here.

Next time you see a dump truck remember that we might not be able to move all the dirt in the world. But that dump truck is not responsible to move all the dirt in the world. No that dump truck is responsible for the dirt it is currently carrying. That is why I love our leaders, because they are committed to Loving Jesus and the students He has placed in our ministry.

There is a lot of dirt in this world, not many realize, there are close to three thousand Middle School Students from: Hamburg, Frontier and Orchard Park combined. The dump trucks we have in our ministry are amazing, I wouldn’t trade them for the world. But as Jesus said “The harvest is plentiful but workers are few”. The reality is we could really use a few more people excited for a challenge, to join in the process of seeing God move students who are far from Him, into a relationship with the Hope of the World, Jesus Christ. If you are inspired to be a dump truck please email me: Pastor Tom tneary@wchamburg.org. I would love to speak with you about how you can join our team!

Disclaimer: In no way is the word dirt meant to be a derogatory statement about our teenagers.  This was just a creative metaphor.

Lies… (Exposing the truth from the relationship lies of our culture) #Part 2

Hey Parents!

I realize this topic of sex and purity is a delicate one and for that reason I have created this post to help you understand what I am sharing, in hopes that together we can partner together to protect our kids from the incredible temptations that are presented to them every day. – Pastor Tom

2nd LIE… “It’s Just Sex”

TRUTH: Purity is a Gift and Purity is to be protected

Things People Never say…

“Its just cancer”
“Its just a billion dollars”
“Its just a scratch on my new car”
“Its just my first child… I have two more”
“Its just a flesh wound” *Ok that one I have heard before 🙂

People don’t say those things because: Each of those examples carries with it incredible VALUE. We protect things with VALUE. Which is the same for our purity, we protect it because it is VALUABLE.

Exposing the Lie: Its not just sex because sex is emotionally connected to your heart and your HEART IS VALUABLE (Proverbs 4:23)

Our purity is our gift from God designed for the person we will stand at the alter and join lives with in Marriage. (Genesis 2:24)  What type of heart do you want to present to your future spouse? We must get on the offensive and protect ourselves from all of the sexual temptations that exist in our culture.

God’s View Of Purity: God wants the best for us in every area and sexual purity is no exception. His plans are better than our own plans.

1 Timothy 4:12

Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity. 

Psalms 119:9 

How can a young person stay pure? By obeying your word.

1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 

God’s will is for you to be holy, so stay away from all sexual sin.  Then each of you will control his own body and live in holiness and honor—  not in lustful passion like the pagans who do not know God and his ways.

For the message I will be preaching from 2 Samuel 11 (Most likely summarizing it) and will look at Davids sin with Bathsheba and how we can learn to be proactive in Protecting our Purity because it is VALUABLE.

 

How To Be Proactive In Protecting Yourself From Sexual Temptation: 

1. Talk It Out.

*** Communicate with your parents about sexual questions, If you cant talk with your parents choose a TRUSTED adult. Another middle school student and the internet should NOT be your sounding board for this HUGE questions***

2. Go To Bed.

***Most sexual temptations begin with staying up late when your tired and your defenses are low, Go to bed and if you cant sleep read a PAPER book***

3. Say No NOW.

***Most sexual temptations don’t just jump out at you, it works in layers where if you don’t resist the temptation the temptation only grows and before you know it, you have crossed a line you never intended to cross(Porn & Relationally)****

 

Living life like God loves YOU: YOU WONT FALL INTO THESE LIES: 

YOU will know what REAL LOVE IS

YOU will know your GOD GIVEN VALUE

 

Summary: 
God has given us our sexual purity as a gift and we are to protect it. When we are married we will present our gift of purity. We want to present them with our gift in its original beauty.  This is possibly by choosing resist sexual temptation and refusing to be in anyway sexually active.

 

Parents I hope this will help you think about how to prepare your sons and daughters for dating. If you want to sit in while we are having this talk you are invited!
The dates are February 12th & 17th.
If you would like to talk with me about how to set up relational & purity boundaries I would be more than willing to sit down with you and help you. Also, our next Equipping Weekend here at the Wesleyan Church of Hamburg (March 22-23rd) We will be hosting a seminar about Helping Your Middle Schooler to Make Wise Choices. Be on the look out for more information about that!

Lies… (Exposing the truth from the relationship lies of our culture) #Part 1

Hey Parents!

Thank you for stopping by and checking out what is being taught to your children! I hope this helps you as well as your students to defeat these lies… – Pastor Tom

1st Lie: “I Love You” – said from one middle schooler to another inside a “dating relationship”

Truth: Two Loves you can BANK ON… The Love of the God of The Bible and Love of Family … “In middle school I don’t understand love enough yet to say I Love You to another middle schooler.” What they are offering is an IMITATION of what they perceive real love to me… BUT… REAL Love is SELFLESS and often like children, all students care about in Middle School, is themselves

Understand this: Parents who set up for their children structure for dating and have open communication about parental standards, will significantly decrease the chance of their son or daughter being hurt emotionally, physically and spiritually. Our kids need parents to set up boundaries and they need us to be unmoving in our authority.

Gods Word Defining Love:

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (NLT)

4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

GODS LOVE: 

1 John 3:16a (NLT) 

We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. 

John 3:16 (NLT)

“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.

The I LOVE YOU test: This is a good standard for filtering out true love in relationship at any age.

* Are You Patient? (Are you trying to rush the relationship… if SO, Your not IN LOVE)
* Are you Kind? (Girls, if are not treated like a princes in a disney movie, you are not in LOVE)
* Are you Jealous? (If you are Jealous all the time because they have friends, you are not in LOVE)
* Are You Always Right? (If you control the relationship needing to be right all the time, YOUR NOT in LOVE)

A Challenge for the Boys: 

BEFORE you tell a girl you love her:

1. Tell her Dad You Love Him & You Love His Daughter.

(If you cant because you don’t know Him or because you are sacred… Your NOT ready to say “I LOVE YOU”)

2. Ask Him if He would allow you to tell her you love his daughter.

(He Loves her more than you do and has spent the hard time picking her up when she has fallen down, If he thinks you will hurt his daughter he will tell you that you are NOT ready to say “I LOVE YOU”)

3. Respect Your parents and her parents decision.

(Going behind your parents back is never safe, BUT this one is like playing with fire, if you can’t OR won’t respect what her dad says and live under the guidelines your parents have set, you are NOT ready to say “I LOVE YOU”)

Summary:

I LOVE YOU is a powerful statement and should be handled with GREAT CARE… We do not want to be tricked into believing we have the Real thing in a middle school relationship when what we really have is a cheap imitation.

Parents I hope this will help you think about how to prepare your sons and daughters for dating. There are two things you as a parent can bank on from me as their youth pastor:

1. I will always point students back to what you the parent says about dating. And 2. I will always teach that middle school relationships do not last and should not be pursued because they will always cause more drama and pain than if they had just remained friends.

If you would like to talk with me about how to set up relational boundaries I would be more than willing to sit down with you and help you. Also, our next Equipping Weekend here at the Wesleyan Church of Hamburg (March 22-23rd) We will be hosting a seminar about Helping Your Middle Schooler to Make Wise Choices. Be on the look out for more information about that!