This month at The Avenue (High School Ministry at NSM) we’re tackling the much debated issue of physical and romantic relationships. I won’t get into the details right now but here’s our series bumper. I’ll fill you in on how this is going along all month.
Tonight I'm sitting in bed and thanking God for the opportunity to be asked to come back to Atlanta and speak at Walking Wisely Weekend. After taking AJ, Brian and Ricky on tours of the North Point and Brown's Bridge campuses I'm reminded of why I'm so excited about what God is doing at Northwood.
Do I miss being a part of such an excellent and effective ministry like North Point? Yes. Do I wish I were back? No. Confidently, no. Being back here this weekend is only getting me more excited about being at Northwood. What God did in me during my time at North Point was incredible. Not only did he allow me to sit in rooms and learn from some amazing men and women but he challenged me, disciplined me and broadened my horizon of vision to see beyond the "currently" and into the "could be."
What's so amazing at Northwood is that we have a church and leadership that looks beyond the "currently" and sees the "could be." I was once asked if I was trying to make NSM a North Point model ministry. My answer to that question is no. I'm trying to make NSM and Biblical and Jesus model ministry. I learned a lot about production, preparation, purpose, dilligence and a list of other things while I was on staff at North Point. But the best place to look for ministry direction is Scripture.
We are small group driven because Jesus was. We strive for excellence because God deserves it. We seek the lost and look for ways to provide for the needy because "He first loved us." We don't do anything because "they" did it. We do things because HE did it. We implement strategy we develop or learn from others because WE are the Church. If something works here it may work there; but there's a good chance it may not.
The truth behind my excitement about Northwood isn't that I'll have a chance to implement strategy, it's that God is doing something remarkable and I get to be a part of it. What God has done and is doing with North Point in Atlanta is incredible. I believe He is going to use Northwood to do something Charleston and the surrounding area has never seen. I believe we get to be on the front row to God's next great movement in the "Holy City." I believe He is going to empty us out of all the great ideas, strategies and methods we've seen and learned and take us beyond what we've experienced before. And I'm so grateful that He has surrounded us with people who see all of this too. Thank you Northwood Church. Thank you NSM volunteers. Thank you Pastor and Elders. Thank you God. We are a privileged people.
There are a ton of reasons why I love my job. I've decided that I'm going to occasionally celebrate those reasons on this blog. So to start…my team.
(picture courtesy of Stacey Dryden)
I get to work along side of some very great people. We don't get along all the time. We don't have a tremendous amount of things in common. We do; however, live, laugh and love well together. In just under eight months I have grown to care a great deal for these people. They have opened their lives and families to me. They have trusted my leadership and followed even when they were unsure. They are a great picture of the church.
What about you? Why do you love your job
Today the NSM team discovered a rare opportunity. Over my career in Student Ministry there have been three things that are invaluable and very, very hard to find.
1. Students who care more about their future than their today.
2. Student Ministry staff that aspire to be in Student Ministry.
3. A quality, reasonably priced, available camp/retreat center.
Out of the blue one of our small group leaders suggested a retreat center close to where he works. AJ called to check on some options for another event and just by happenstance asked about rates and availability for the summer. Low and behold….they had some options we could work with.
So here is your opportunity. If you're in student ministry and are looking for a great option for summer camp in the Southeast, this may be your answer. We're planning to put together a small group driven camp experience. Here's why: our ministry is small groups based and almost every quality pre-fab camp takes your group and integrates them with every other church attending the camp that week. Our camp will allow you to have a week of camp that provides high quality large group worship and teaching while allowing your small groups stay intact at camp, giving those groups the equivalent of a two month growth curve.
As we begin the decision making and planning process there are several hoops we'll need to jump through to ensure this camp is all that we hope it to be. If you're curious about the options of attending this camp please email me and let me know. There is a critical number we need to reach to ensure our full usage of the retreat center, but there is also a limit on how many people we can accommodate. If you're seriously interested now is the time. At this point it doesn't matter if you have a group of two or two hundred. I believe this could be the beginning of something very powerful and life-changing for hundreds of students. Please pray with us as we begin this journey and also pray about being a part of this great opportunity.
In just a few days I'm leaving Charleston headed to Atlanta. You always wonder if the people who said such nice things about you when you leave a place really meant it. Apparently my good friends at North Point Ministries actually did. I have been asked to come back and speak at NPM Middle School's biggest event of the year, Walking Wisely Weekend. This is a huge honor for me. It should be a huge honor for anyone who is asked. For me though, it's an honor both because of the notoriety that North Point Ministries has received and more so because my former coworkers consider me to be a competent speaker.
This year, like last, NPM Middle School is taking a huge "Disciple NOW' type event in Walking Wisely Weekend and carrying it out on three campuses simultaniously. When I was on staff a little over a year ago, we held one venue for all three campuses. I have the privilege of speaking on the Brown's Bridge campus this weekend. Many of the seventh and eighth graders I spoke to on a weekly basis will be in attendance along with the small group leaders who make NPM so successful.
I'm sure they will be extremely busy, but I'm hoping to catch up on stories and laughs with some of my favorite people in the world…the staff of NPM. The only thing I'm disappointed in with my schedule this weekend is that I had to tell Andy Stanley that I couldn't take him out to dinner on this trip. I really hate telling that guy no. (I assume you all know I'm totally kidding….wait…what if Andy reads this….crap…I can take you out if you want….seriously….I can.)
So if you're in Northern Atlanta and you'd like to see me and meet my team from Northwood Student Ministry, let me know you're around and come see us at BBCC this weekend.
Have you ever hit a wall in leading that made you want to just stop having to make any decisions? It's been a busy month plus and today I'm feeling it. Nothing bad is going on but I'm just weary. I haven't had a day off from work in over three weeks and it's looking like it will be another week and a half until I see daylight. I'm sitting here for a few precious moments before I head back to church to set up for tonight. I litterally don't want to make any decisions. I don't want to choose lunch, what time to leave, where to go, what to drink, what bathroom to go to….nothing.
So if you wouldn't mind…could you lift me up. I really don't want my attitude to be released on my family. That's usually where it ends up for most of us. Secondly, what do you do to get away from it all? Do you read, work out, go for a hike? I'd love to hear some suggestions. Or if you have a really great idea and would like to take me somewhere, let me know. Thanks a ton.