5/14/2011

Art for Missions...

Last month, I posted about how I had modeled for our church's Easter worship service painting.

I wanted to make sure that I posted the finished product...

Here's a pic of David working on the angel using the pic of me as a model. Don't believe me? Click on the pic to embiggen...

Here's the finished product. (Sorry for it being a little blurry.)

But here's the cool part. We've got a congregation member who owns his own printing company. He's agreed to produce prints of the painting at low cost to us! So, we're selling prints of David's work to benefit our church's missions work in Guatemala! For every print that is sold 100% of the profits will go to help the people of Guatemala.

Are you interested in buying one? If you want more information on purchasing a print, email Micah Merchant, our missions pastor.

I love that God is using art to help people who need it...

5/06/2011

Taking Students to Movies...

Hi. I'm Josh.

Just in case we've never met before, or just in case you're a first time visitor to my blog, here's something you should know about me: I like movies. A lot.

Watching, experiencing, reading about, thinking about, writing about, and talking about movies are amongst some of my favorite things. Thus, because my life is about ministering to teenagers, I'm always looking for ways to combine the two. Sometimes that means finding a movie clip that illustrates a lesson or teaching point. Sometimes that means connecting with a student by just hanging out and going to the movies.

For the majority of my career in student ministry, I've ministered primarily to middle school students (6th- 8th grade). This made choosing movies to see with students super easy. Obviously, no R rated movies. But, since their age was either younger than 13 or right at 13, it was always difficult to decide if a PG-13 movie was appropriate or not. So, I didn't take students to see PG-13 movies either. It was G or PG all the way. However, in my current role, I ministering to both middle and high school students. In fact, in this context, since there aren't that many middle school students attending, my primary ministry is actually to high schoolers.

So how do I choose movies to see with students now? Well, for me, it's still no to R rated films. Just a blanket rule. No matter what it is. In fact, I don't even use R rateds in my teaching if I need a clip. It's not that I'm taking a stance against them, it's just that it's not a battle I want to fight. After all, there's thousands of movies out there. If there's an R that illustrates something well, there's also a lower rated film that does the same. As far as PG-13s go, I'm going to give it a shot today.

Tonight, I'm taking two high school aged guys to see Thor. Both of the guys are big comic book fans (who isn't?), and I've been looking for a way to connect with them for a while. Hopefully, it'll be a fun time that leads to some relational progress.

What about you? What are your guidelines for using movies in teaching? What about in choosing what you can see with students? I'd love your input. Fire away in the comments...

5/04/2011

My Mantras...

I've said it here before, but I'm a pretty visual person. I've even posted on how this personality trait works itself out in my event planning. Here's another way that it presents itself in my daily life.

After starting in my new job, which is not a permanent position, I began to realize that there were some interesting tasks that my unique role should fulfill. After thinking through some of these things, I realized that i wanted to make them a priority in my ministry. So, in an effort to keep them in the front of my mind, I typed the first one out, printed it, and (sticky) tacked it up on my wall above my desk.

A brief explanation of each one:

  • The clock is ticking!!!
    This mantra was meant to remind me that my role of managing the transition between youth pastors has a time limit on it. I may not know what that time limit is, but it exists. Because of that, I want to make as big of an impact as I can during my time here. So, no time to waste...

  • It's not about me!!!
    Since Uncle Rick wrote a book using this as its first line, this has become quite a famous quote. For me, in this role, it serves to remind me that I'm here to serve. I'm here to serve students, volunteers, and parents. I'm not here to build my own ministry kingdom. I'm not here to garner a sterling reputation. I'm not here to impress. I'm just here to serve. Why? Because it's not about me. it's about Him...

  • What are you wading for? Dive in!
    Play on words? Guilty. Here's the deal. I'm not great at starting relationships with everything I've got. I'm much more the type to hang back at first, slowly get to know someone, and then jump in. But in this role, I don't have time for that. (I may have mentioned something about this in the first mantra.) So, instead of slowly wading into the relationship pool, I need to dive in and get to know everyone...

  • I'm a model! You know what I mean?
    Yeah. It's a Right Said Fred Song. But it's also something good to keep in mind as you minister. Especially in a leadership role. One of the realities of ministry is that a ministry takes on the personality of its leader. Not only that, but volunteers see what a leader does and, in a lot of cases, base how they serve on that. So it's super important that I live my life, and serve others, in such a way to model how I want my volunteers and students to live theirs. It's also super important that I look to Christ to be my model and follow him...


    These are things I'm keeping in mind I as serve students at my church. I'm sure I'll be adding to the list as I continue. Maybe one of them speaks to you and can help you! Feel free to use them yourself...
  • 5/03/2011

    Things I Love: Series 3...

    For some time now on my twitter, I've been posting a series of tweets about things I love. I figured I'd collect them all in one place (along with making some of them into links). You can check out the other entries in this series by clicking here. I mean, this way, if you ever want to buy me a gift...

  • Vol 15: Sticky Fingers Carolina Classic BBQ Sauce, Texas Pete Hot Sauce, My Kindle, Diet Coke w/ Orange, Scrabble Slam!

  • Vol 16: My Jamey Johnson Pandora Station, Jamestown Coffee Company's Pumpkin Spice roast, Moleskines, The Karate Kid (both versions)

  • Vol 17: Natalie Portman's Eyebrows, Diet A&W Rootbeer, My Klean Kanteen, Christmas Vacation (the movie), Orbit Sweet Mint Gum

  • Vol 18: Ricky Gervais

  • Vol 19: Words With Friends, My New Job, White Boards, Trailer for Captain America, New Books on My Kindle, Nerds Jelly Beans

    Man, I have good taste...
  • 5/02/2011

    Land of Confusion...

    I started this blog in September of 2005. So, it's birth being four years after 9-11, I don't have a recorded reaction of what I felt on that day. Not that I'll ever forget.

    I'll never forget where I was and what I was doing when the news came across the TV. The first plane had already struck the towers when the live feed cut in. I witnessed the second collision. I was gathered with a few dozen or so people around a TV. Our jaws, collectively, on the floor.

    Last night, President Obama announced that Osama Bin Laden had been killed. The chief mastermind behind the NYC attacks, as well as other terrorist actions, had been "brought to justice". Today, the television is filled with images of Americans gathered in Times Square and in front of the White House cheering.

    Immediately, my mind flashed back to a similar picture. After thousands of our citizens were tragically killed in the 9-11 attacks, there was a similar reaction in the middle east. People gathered outside to celebrate, to cheer, a victory. They were joyous over so many innocent lives lost.

    So, as I watched the TV coverage of the celebration over Bin Laden's death, I found myself unable to be joyous. But I didn't know why. It wasn't until later today that I realized it. We (Americans) were celebrating a man's death. Please don't read me saying that he was an innocent or that he wasn't as evil as they come. But he was a man. He was a man that Christ died for and now, if what he believed is the same as what he said, is going to spend eternity separated from God. I cannot celebrate that. I can't have any reaction other than deep sadness.

    I read this post from Dr. Warren Larson today. Dr. Larson is one of the profs at my alma mater and a former missionary in the middle east. I'd strongly encourage you to read his post, as it's an incredibly wise and God-honoring way to look at this current event.

    Whoa. I'm not even done typing this post, and a new one from Marko just came up in my google reader expressing a similar feeling.

    Perhaps I'm not alone in this feeling of confusion...