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Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Advent: Weeks 1 and 2

First off, let me apologize for the lack of updates on this blog for the past couple weeks. As we were talking through the transition I was trying to figure out how we will use this blog going forward and spent much time analyzing what we currently do and what we will do in the future. All of that to say, going forward, starting on Dec 31 your teenagers will be learning and talking about similar things to what is being taught from the stage on Sunday morning. Our high school small group, starting the week of Jan 21, will follow the same curriculum as the adult small group. But we still want to give you valuable resources and ways to engage your teens in conversations of spiritual significance. So we will keep this going and feed you questions to ask or talk about over dinner or on the way to practice, etc.

Anyway, the past 2 weeks in bcsm we have talked about Advent being a season of preparing and lights. We talked about the prophets preparing the way for Jesus to come and Jesus being the light of the world.

The biggest questions that came out of these lessons were:
1. How do you prepare yourself to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas?
2. How can you take the light of Jesus to the people around you?

Maybe talk to your student about how you do these things and either link this to a standard family tradition of yours or come up with a new tradition based around preparing for Christmas' true meaning.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Letter to bcsm Parents

By this time you have no doubt heard that starting at the beginning of the year, things at BCC will look a little different. If you have not, let me give you a simple rundown of the impending changes. If you have already heard, just skip the next two paragraphs.

About 6 months back the Elders and Staff entered into an intense discussion about where we as a church body go from here. We felt like we built a good foundation for the future of ministry here in this place, but the question was, “What do we build on the foundation?”

The answer is, really, we become more of who we wanted to be all along. Our mission is to love our community and invite them into a life-changing relationship with Jesus. While we feel like we have really strengthened the people inside of our church, we did not think we were really bringing people in from the outside effectively. So the Elders put every program and ministry under the microscope to figure out how we can do that better. As a result, they decided the Sunday morning service needed to change a bit and asked me to head up the song service piece.

I am sure you all have your own questions and concerns as to what this might mean for the youth ministry. Let me assure you, we are not letting the teenagers fall through the cracks. In fact, quite the opposite is happening.

We feel like our church will be most successful if we can create a worship service that appeals to teenagers and adults alike. So as I lead worship over the next year we will be changing our song service to more closely reflect the ways in which teenagers like to worship. In order to make sure we are hitting the mark, we need the teenagers in the service and giving us feedback. So Sunday mornings we will have all jr. highers and high schoolers meet up front in the sanctuary. They will worship and take communion with the whole church. Then the Jr. Highers will be dismissed into the bcsm classroom where they will receive an age appropriate lesson based off of the sermon that Nathan will be preaching. The high schoolers will be asked to stay in the service for the duration.

I know that in the past we have had some parents say that teenagers just don’t like the service so it is hard to get them to go to church in the morning or even into the service. While I understand that sentiment, I wonder if the same argument would be made for keeping a teenager from getting their education. I don’t hear parents saying, “My kid doesn’t like math so I don’t make him/her do it.” In the grand scheme of things, the stuff we discuss in church is far more important than arithmetic.

So if your teens don’t like it, ask them why. Have a conversation. Lead them by saying something like, “I understand your concerns. Let’s go find a time when we can talk to Eric or Nathan or the leadership of the church and ask why we do things this particular way. They may not change the way they do things, but if you just complain to me nothing can or will be done about it and you will still have to go to church.” This shows them the high value you place on being a part of a local congregation, how vital it is to your life-changing relationship with Jesus, and how important you think it is to have open lines of communication. That is the only way we can grow together as a church.

Also bcsm is working hard to ensure there are plenty of opportunities for your student to engage outside of Sunday morning. We will have our small groups up and running, the New Years Party, the Winter Games 2018 in January, Ignite for the High Schoolers, Believe for the Jr. Highers and a bunch of other things happening.

I know this is a lot to process. If you have any concerns or questions about this new system, please let me know. I would love to talk with you about all this stuff.  


Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Connection Service

Hey all!

Hopefully you were here for the Connection Service and heard the message that to Shepherd like the Chief Shepherd, to become more like Jesus, we must be humble. Talk to your teenagers about humility. Ask them what they think that word means. Share with them some ways that you have seen them exhibit humility and encourage them to continue in that.

Reading For This Week:
Mon- Isaiah 2
Tues- Isaiah 3
Wed- Isaiah 4
Thurs- Isaiah 5
Fri- Isaiah 6
Sat- Isaiah 7

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

How to Ruin Your Life: Part 3

This week Gwen taught about friends and ways that they can influence teenagers in negative ways. She said that we should look out for friends that do not respect parents or authorities. We also talked about how, many times, we change the way we act when we are around certain friends. Sometimes the best thing we can do is tell someone, "I need to pursue my relationship with Jesus and I can not do that when you are around so I need to stop hanging out with you."

I have heard people say, "If we are to witness to people like Jesus did, then we need to hang around bad people, right?" The answer to that question is, "You aren't Jesus." What Jesus told us to do is to take the gospel to those around us and if they reject it, we shake it off and walk away.

Ask your teens, Do you change the way you act around your friends? Is there a way I can help you make and keep good friends that respect you for you?

This Week's Reading
Monday- Proverbs 21
Tuesday- Proverbs 22
Wednesday- Proverbs 23
Thursday- Proverbs 24
Friday- Proverbs 25
Saturday- Proverbs 26

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

How to Ruin Your Life: Part 2

This week we talked about 4 ways that you can start a fire on your phone.
1. By saying whatever you want- The anonymity of the internet makes people feel safe saying whatever they want. However, that anonymity is just an illusion and you can cause real harm to people by saying whatever you want to over anonymous channels.
2. Using your phone as your stage- Using the internet to try and make yourself the star of your world, does not work and it only leaves us feeling empty, when we wished it did the opposite. When we create gossip and help it spread by being vague in our posts to get sympathy, we do a disservice to ourselves and to our friends.
3. Believe that everything people say is true- This one seems a bit obvious, but lots of people online are lying. Don't give out your information. Don't agree to meet someone you met only online. You do not know them, unless you want to ruin your life.
4. Build a community online- Most of the fires we talked about were destructive, this one is more like a virtual campfire. There are opportunities to use social media and phones for good instead of evil.

Ask your students about how they use the internet and if any of these things has been a problem for them in the past.

This Week's Reading
Monday- Proverbs 15
Tuesday- Proverbs 16
Wednesday- Proverbs 17
Thursday- Proverbs 18
Friday- Proverbs 19

Saturday- Proverbs 20

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

How to Ruin Your Life: Part 1

This Sunday, Nick Parker, our children's minister talked about wisdom and basically one way to ruin your life is to not pay attention to wisdom. If we want wisdom, or a life that doesn't end in ruin, we will need wisdom that begins with the fear of the Lord. Like with a toy, you must grow in your enjoyment of the Lord, discovering new things about him. Like with a tool, you must rightly recognize his power and danger. And like with treasure, you must see how much he is worth, how beautiful and wonderful he really is and give him  the awe and respect and reverence that he is due.

Talk to your teenager about wisdom. Maybe share with them the wisest advice you ever received and connect that advice with one of the three aspects of fearing God that they talked about on Sunday.

This Week's Reading
Monday- Proverbs 9
Tuesday- Proverbs 10
Wednesday- Proverbs 11
Thursday- Proverbs 12
Friday- Proverbs 13

Saturday- Proverbs 14

Monday, September 25, 2017

Romans: Practice

In view of God’s mercy, or the basic gospel found in Romans (Problem, Provision, and Power), we are supposed to give ourselves as a sacrifice to God. That means that we are willing ot give everything up. All that we are for Jesus. 
That seems like a lot to ask of us until we consider what God did for us, until we view it in light of God’s mercy. If God gave everything for us, how could we hold anything back? So that begs the question, “What does God want for us?”

Paul answers that by saying that if we allow our minds to be renewed, if we stop just morphing into the people the world wants us to be, we can start to see God’s will for our lives. It starts out with the simple concepts of humility and love for one another, and as we Practice those things we start to see God’s will for us more clearly. 

Ask your student:
How hard is it to remain an individual among your friends? To be yourself while in their presence and not just become who they want to see?
Science has shown that if we create a pattern or habit in our minds, it will literally change the makeup of our brain. What is one thing you can start doing today or stop doing today to begin renewing your mind?

This Week's Reading
Monday- Proverbs 3
Tuesday- Proverbs 4
Wednesday- Proverbs 5
Thursday- Proverbs 6
Friday- Proverbs 7

Saturday- Proverbs 8