Posts Tagged ‘Do Something 2014’

Do Something Wrap-Up

// July 8th, 2014 // No Comments » // Events, Youth News

I apologize for this post coming so late. We were having some website issues that prevented me from posting any updates. It seems as if all has been fixed. Thanks to El LaGrew for the work he put into getting things back in order.

After listening to our Do Something group share their highlights and impacts Sunday morning, there really isn’t much more for me to add. God truly blessed this group throughout the week and used this group to bless the people around them. It was very reminiscent of God’s promise to Abraham, “I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing” (Genesis 12:2). That basically sums up the week.

My last post ended on Wednesday. So, I thought I should fill everyone in on how we ended our week. Thursday was much like a Monday through Wednesday. The day begins by running the obstacle course, eating breakfast, and sitting down for a time of devotions. Then we sent the group off to their work-sites.  However, the group didn’t have to go far because they spent the day working at Bethel Church. Our group had worked so hard the rest of the week that we ran out of job-sites for them, but found some needs around the church. One group spent the day building and staining some picnic tables that will be used by the Ignite area and some other areas around church. Another group spent the day tilling up and working the memorial garden on the North side of church. We also had various groups washing windows, cleaning, and touching up paint around the church. The group didn’t treat this day as being any different than the rest. They worked hard and finished all of their assigned work by the end of the day. We wrapped up the day with an intense session discussing sin and a campfire message by Geoff Bazuin on “Yielding to Christ.”

Friday was our Day Away. We like to see our group working hard, but we also like to see them playing hard. They got that opportunity on Friday. The morning was pretty typical and then we took them to the water park at the Holiday Inn in Otsego. We spent the rest of the afternoon there. At the basic level, it was a great opportunity for the group to let loose, relax, and have fun. At a deeper level, it was very much a time for the group to grow closer together. It was mentioned during highlights & impacts on Sunday morning, but I want to emphasize it again. Our group hung out together as an entire group the whole time at the water park. That is an amazing feat where all of the credit should go to God. This group is functioning like the Body of Christ. They cliques and “groups’ are dropping away and they are becoming One. It’s been awesome to be a part of this process. We wrapped up the evening with a session where we discuss our Dreams that have come true and the Dreams that God has given us for the future. This has become one of the favorite sessions of the week and it is amazing to see how God has blessed each one of us.

Saturday is our Solitude day. We feel this is the best way to wrap up the week. We have truly challenged the teenagers in wide variety of ways. It isn’t an exaggeration to say “their cup overflows.” So we give them the opportunity to reflect, process, and seek God. It was looking to be a rainy day, so we got them moving right away in the morning. We packed them up and headed off to Munsinger Gardens in St Cloud, all the while praying that the rain would hold off. The students had the opportunity to do their devotions by the river and then we brought them to the gardens on top for Solitude. For solitude we explain the rules (quiet and by yourself), the boundaries (the upper garden), and the length of time (3 hours). Then we send them off. For many it’s the highlight of their week. Once the three hours is up, we gather together and share our highlights and impacts from solitude, but this year it was a little different. Literally, the moment I called the end of solitude it started raining. God had answered our prayers. What a blessing! So, we loaded up in the vehicles and headed back to church to share about solitude time. We had a session in the evening and ended the week in our typical fashion–highlights and impacts. We began our final bonfire by worshiping God through song and we continued worshiping as students shared their highlights and impacts. I could almost see God smiling.

If our students knew the song, I would have ended the week by singing the Doxology. Instead I will do it here:

Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise him, all creatures here below;
Praise him above, ye heavenly host:
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

Amen!

Do Something Day 4

// June 26th, 2014 // No Comments » // Events

What can I say but it’s been another day blessed by God. It was amazing to see how many hands shot in the air when we did God sightings tonight. Not only is God working in and through our group, but our group has opened their eyes to see His work.

The ongoing theme for the week (and previous years) has been the work ethic of this group. In reality, their work ethic has put us in somewhat of a bind. We are running out of work-sites. They have accomplished 4 days worth of work in three and have left us scrambling to come up with work for tomorrow morning. Thankfully Joel DeHaan has been our fearless leader over the work-sites and has set us up with some great projects for tomorrow morning. While I’m on the topic, the teenagers listed Joel as a God sighting. They have seen God as they’ve watched Joel’s passion, persistence, and patience over the past three days. We are very thankful for the work he has done and the time he has set aside for this project. We would be lost without him!

Since I’m handing out compliments, I also want to mention the awesome leaders that we have at Ignite. I truly believe that only God could have brought this group together. It’s truly a testimony to His providence. Each leader in this ministry is completely sold-out on this mission and has sacrificed much with the hope of seeing teenagers grow in faith and knowledge of the Lord. This week is no different. Even one of the people we were serving took notice of this, but in a unique way. Rebecca Staneslow was having a conversation with the homeowner when she made the comment, “You teenagers are something special. You must have really great youth leaders.” I would second that comment. We are truly blessed to have each member on our Youth Ministry Team. Later in the day we received a text from her saying, “Awesome group of young people! The were so polite, considerate, & helpful. A wonderful blessing & a job very well done. Thank you so much & God bless all of you.”

Our teenagers were also able to be served by various members of our congregation today. Tonight our group participated in an Agape Feast which was spearheaded by Terri Baas and Teri Hyrkas. I was impressed and humbled by the amount of work and preparation that went into this special meal. It didn’t go unnoticed by our teenagers either. Each one of them were beyond thankful and walked away thinking about how they can see God in the “small stuff”.

We are looking forward to seeing how God will continue to work in this group over the next few days. May he receive all the Praise and Glory!

Do Something Day 3

// June 24th, 2014 // 2 Comments » // Events, Youth News

What another powerful way of watching God work in and through this group of teenagers.

As I talked with our group today one theme stands out–service. You might think that’s a no brainer, right? We are on a service trip after all. However, today our group was impacted by the way they’ve been served over the last couple of days. The group working at CCS wanted to make sure we gave a shout out to Tracy Rosenberg for the daily freezie deliveries. Not only have they the freezies provided a much needed break during the day, but they taste better than the ones I deliver… I heard many times how much the group appreciated the way Tracy has served them. The other groups have experienced the same thing. Barb and Jerry Herman also made sure to take good care of the group serving at their house. This is the way that Christians live in community! Along with being served, these teenagers have been working very hard. Every leader mention how proud they were of their groups work ethic.

Throughout the week of Do Something we also challenge students to share their life stories. Each student will get up in front of the group and walk us through the various events of their lives. It’s also more than that. Along with a “timeline” of their life, students are challenged to help us see where God has been working throughout their lives. For the first timers, it’s an intimidating exercise. For the “old timers” it’s a highlight of the week. So far the students have been doing a great job and have been really opening up in their life stories. One of the leaders said, “They’re really taking off the masks.” It’s a great feeling to know that you can trust a group enough to truly be yourself. That’s exactly what’s happening and you can be in prayer that God continues to use these life stories for His glory.

Tonight’s teaching session was a lot of fun. We spent the evening studying “The Image of God and The Covenant of Works” and every student was fully engaged for the entire session–all 2.5 hrs worth. A leader commented that they’ve “never seen this group so passionate about studying God’s Word.” I can’t tell you how much fun it is to teach a group like this. Lot’s of questions being asked, lot’s of hard thinking being done, and lot’s of truth being cemented into their hearts. They are hungry and God’s Word is giving them nourishment.

We are so thankful or everyone who has been praying over this week. God truly working! Keep up the praying and we’ll be on the lookout for how God will answer you prayers.

Do Something Day 2

// June 23rd, 2014 // 2 Comments » // Events

What another great day! Even though I feel like I’m going to start every post off that way, I’m not getting sick of it.  I love bragging about the work God is doing in and through this group of teenagers.

We started off the day with our obstacle course. It’s a random assortment of quirky activities mixed with some running and jogging (oh yeah, and mental activities). The groups jumped into the activity with both feet. Even though it was 6:30am and the grass was still wet with dew, the group tackled the course with enthusiasm and with smiles on their faces. A pretty great way to start the day.

We were also able to see some powerful answers to prayer today. IT DIDN’T RAIN! I will call that a gift from God. All of our groups were able to stay dry the entire time they worked–and they really worked! Once again we have groups working way ahead of schedule. Two different groups finished their projects in one day when they were planning on them taking two days. We started off the day by challenging them to serve as unto the Lord and not unto man. Obviously they took that to heart.

One of the groups was treated well by the family they were serving. The service went both ways. The group showed up to help build a wheelchair ramp and paint the house. As they were working on these projects they were treated with various treats throughout the day. The group mentioned how much they admired the faith of the couple we were serving. They were truly a couple after God’s own heart. When the group finished up for the day, the wife asked if she could pray over the group. She expressed gratitude for our group and gratitude to God. As the group left they could see a huge weight lifted off the shoulders of that couple and tears in their eyes. Another movement of the Spirit.

Another group had the opportunity to do some work at Community Christian School in Pease. Some of the teenagers were CCS alum and were almost giddy at the opportunity to give back to the school that gave them so much. They were able to do some mulching around the school and began staining some of the playground equipment. After the work-day was done the group was asked if they wanted to switch work-sites in order to “mix things up” and they responded with a resounding NO. They wanted to finish what they started. We like to hear that 🙂

Another highlight of the day was out teaching session tonight. I have hardly taught a session where a group was more excited and engaged than this one! Who says theology is boring?!?! We had two sessions planned for tonight and were only able to get through one of them because there was so much discussion/debate happening. We went for two hours, took a short break, then went for another forty minutes or so. I had to wrap the session up, much to their chagrin, so we could go to our evening campfire message. Even with that, the conversations didn’t stop. They continued all the way to the campfire, at the beginning of the campfire, and after the campfire. It’s very exciting to teach/lead a group that is so passionate and energetic about God’s Word. The Spirit is really working in our group already.

In all reality, that’s the best way to sum up our day, and our week so far. The Spirit of the Living God is working in this group in powerful ways. We are seeing teenagers working harder than they’ve ever worked before. We are seeing older teenagers mentoring and leading younger teenagers. We are seeing teenagers touch the lives of many people in the community. All of this is the result of the work of the Spirit. Thanks be to God!

Do Something Day 1

// June 22nd, 2014 // No Comments » // Events, Youth News

What a great way to start off this week! Right from the worship service this morning through our final bonfire tonight we were able to feel the Spirit’s leading over this trip. Much of what Rob preached about this morning set the stage for what we’ll be talking about this week. Along with that we’ve had various nudges from the Spirit throughout the day. It’s been great!

Once we got settled in for the day and finished up lunch, we began our first session. Sunday is always a laid back day where we try to set the tone for the week. We sit everyone down and explain out goals for this week, which are based around the two great commandments–love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and love you neighbor as yourself. We told the group that our goal is to challenge/stretch them in both of those things throughout the week. Obviously, since it’s a service project our teens will be stretched in loving their neighbor and their ability to love God with all of their strength. We will also be challenging them to love God with all of their mind. We will be walking through scripture and pushing them to think deeply about God’s Word. They will walk out of this week soaked with Scripture. We want to see every aspect of their life and doctrine challenged and shaped by this week.

After running through a few other “introductory” things for the week, we set out on our prayer drive. We begin every week of Do Something with prayer. We take the whole group around to every job-site and bath it in prayer. This year we spent basically three hours praying over these various sites. It was great! Along with praying over job-sites, our student deacons had prepared a care package for Abbi McCray, who was unable to attend this year because of her hip surgery. While we where there we also took the opportunity to pray over her and her family. It was fun to watch their faces.

One more quick little Holy Spirit moment for the night. As we were driving around praying over our job-sites this evening, I happened to mention that we were near one of my friends homes. Troy said, “Maybe we should stop by their house and pray for them too.” So we did. All 25 of us swung by their home, unexpectedly, and asked if we could pray for them (I know them well enough to feel safe doing that :-). Here’s what they had to say, “Thanks, to you and the team. That was awesome I have never been drive-by prayed for and it was amazing. It was one of ‘those’ days today and it truly lifted our spirits to have such a group gather in our driveway.” It was only by the Spirit that we were led to swing by their house. It’s awesome to see the ways that God takes care of His children!

You can continue praying over the weather for the week. It looks like it’s going to be humid and rain showers are going to pop-up whenever they feel like. We will move forward in faith trusting that we will accomplish all that God has planned and prepared for us this week. Amen.

The Beginning of “Do Something”

// June 20th, 2014 // 1 Comment » // Events, Youth News

As I’ve been finalizing all of the “small” details of Do Something, I’ve been thinking back to “how it all started.” The more I think about it, the more I realize the major role the Holy Spirit played in it all.  This trip was not developed in a typical fashion. It came out of weakness and desperation. Good thing God tells us, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor 12:9). Paul goes on to say, “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Cor 12:10). So that’s what I plan on doing with this post. I want to boast in my weaknesses and to boast of the power and faithfulness of our God.

Back in 2010 I had a crazy idea for a new type of summer missions trip–and it wasn’t Do Something. Over the years we had used the same organization for all of our summer missions trips. Our ministry team liked the missions trips but always felt there was something lacking. That’s what created a stirring within us. We wanted to do things differently.

So, in the summer of 2010 I began to wrack my brain about a different way to run a summer missions project.  I happened to enter into a conversation with a teenager from another youth group and thought I discovered my idea. Their youth group had a really unique way of doing their summer missions trip. It sounded exactly like what we wanted to accomplish. I was excited and began putting some preliminary plans into place.

At our next Youth Ministry Team meeting I ran the idea past the rest of our team. Everyone loved the idea. We were all excited and began dreaming about how God could use this new endeavor.

Eventually we came to a crossroads. If we were going to use our previous organization, we needed to have our group signed up in November of 2010–any later than that and a majority of the sites were filled. I brought this to our team. We needed to decide what we wanted to do for the summer project. If we were going to use the prior organization, then we needed to pick a site and begin getting teenagers signed up. If we were going to try this new idea, then we wouldn’t sign up for a site and we would be locked into pulling off this new project. After much thought and discussion, we decided to attempt the new summer project and skip signing up with the previous organization.

That was in November. Over the next few months we began to nail down a bunch of the details for this new trip. We worked out some of the kinks and began to devise a plan. Things were coming together nicely and we were all excited. We were actually going to pull this off!

Then sometime around the end of March, beginning of April, something changed. I don’t remember all of the exact details, but all of a sudden things weren’t falling into place in the same way they were before. I began to get frustrated. Eventually we met as a team and had an honest conversation. With all of the changes that had recently come about, were we realistic in believing this new project was going to happen? The consensus around the table was NO.

That was somewhat of a heartbreaking/frustrating night for me. This “vision” I had for a missions trip had failed. It seemed like such a good idea. It seemed like everything was going to fall into place. Then it all came crumbling down. I was frustrated.

Not only was I frustrated, but I was also stressed. Now, what were we going to do for a missions trip this summer? We couldn’t go back to the previous organization, the  final deadline for registration was due in a little over a week and the majority of the sites were full. I frantically looked at other organizations to use, but came up empty-handed.  I was wracking my brain trying to come up with a solution and nothing was coming.

I still remember the night. I was literally pacing around our dining room table, looking something like a caged lion. Although I wasn’t looking very intimidating, I was looking very weak, stressed, and depressed. The more I paced, the more my anxiety levels rose. What were we going to do? When my anxiety levels rose to their peak–to the very pinnacle–the Spirit pounded a verse into my mind. I was not an audible voice of God, but it might as well have been.  “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6–7).  I was broken to the point of obedience.

I immediately walked out of the dining room and into our bedroom. I shut the door, got on my knees, and began letting my requests be known to God. While I was on my knees, in the midst of prayer, God spoke. Again, not audibly, but very clearly. We should do a missions trip in Princeton. Literally, the idea had never crossed my mind before that point. As I kneeled there, thinking through all of the details, everything seemed to fit. All of the things that were holding us back from using other organizations were no longer problems if we stayed in Princeton. Everything that prevented us from doing our new missions trip idea, were no longer problems. God had been paving the way for this trip without us knowing it.

Now, three years later, we’re preparing for our fourth year of Do Something. We have modified and adapted various parts of the trip, but the main vision has remained. It has been amazing to watch how God has used this trip in the lives of our teenagers and in the community around us. Our teenagers are grabbing hold of and owning their faith. The community has begun to recognize our group and the things we’re doing. Conversations are happening. The Gospel is being spread. The Kingdom is coming.

All of this came through the weakness of our Youth Ministry Team and the power, strength, and faithfulness of our God.