Friday, November 28, 2008

athletic director

Thought i would let you know how the whole athletic director thing is going so far. I was never thrilled with the idea of adding another "hat" to my collection of responsibilities but i enjoy athletics and wanted to do my part and fill in where needed. I am still trying to not be too busy with school stuff and keep "youth pastoring" first, but it is difficult in a church that has a Christian school with it and this makes it worse. Since agreeing to be the AD last week, i have been busy trying to familiarize myself with the scheduling, the different schools, details, etc... The first basketball games for guys and girls start this coming Tuesday and I have still been trying to fill in gaps in the basketball schedule for both guys and girls. I told both coaches I would try to even out what I could but no promises. It is harder than I thought to contact other schools and especially the ones in charge of scheduling games. Plus, I don't know how far away schools are from us and how good or not-so-good they are. For example, just yesterday i scheduled a home-and-away with a team down south from us. I was pretty pleased with myself until I heard from some of the teens that they are triple A while we are single A. In other words, they are totally out of our league. So now I will have to call back and try to think of a good excuse/reason to cancel the two games without saying the words "if we play you your JV could beat our varsity team". "Trial and error" seem to be the phrase that comes to my mind so far. But I have definitely been on a steep learning curve which means that i have to be learning something, right? It will take some time but I will eventually be much more familiar with the schools, teams, normal order of process, and all that jazz. I still have to schedule a couple fund raising events and plan the sports banquet, but that all comes later, and I'm just primarily concerned with finishing the basketball schedules and keeping track of paying the refs, making sure we have the gym when we need it, pacifying the coaches, putting together the half-done stuff that got dumped on me, and more along those lines. In a couple years, it will be all easier and much more clear. But for now, I find myself even worrying about this stuff, which is not like me at all. God help me (as i know He will) and give me wisdom and good decision making!

Monday, November 24, 2008

gym night

Had a great time at the gym night last night. There were some new kids there and some that normally don't come. We had pizza delivered which was a great move and just had the teens pay 3 bucks which covered the pizza and drinks. The games were awesome: a couple different relays using those plastic dolly things with the four wheels and the flat surface, and a different version of dodgeball that the kids really enjoyed. It was a great night overall and I ended with a little challenge about being thankful for fun and friends as well as the "bad things" God gives us. I liked just watching the 22 kids play around and thinking of the potential that is there.

Office novelties

I thought I would describe some of the random things I have around my office and what they mean...or don't mean.
1. a West Virginia basketball poster sitting in the corner still rolled up: given to me by a junior higher who keeps trying to recruit me to be a WV fan so he gives me all this WV stuff. I really like getting stuff but it doesn't mean I'm going to go to the dark side.
2. a Navajo Indian blanket laid on the floor like a rug: given to me by an old work associate, the kids like it and I think it looks a lot cooler than folded up in the corner where it was.
3. various U of M stuff hanging around on the walls: though it was an ugly year to be a Michigan fan, my loyalty still lies with U of M and I represent with some various hats, posters, and a pillow all displayed in maize and blue
4. my guitar and guitar poster: all good youth pastors know how to play the guitar, right? So I taught myself the basics and enjoy being able to play praise and worship songs in youth group. It's much better than me having to lead accapella (spelling?).
5. World's Best Youth Pastor mug: probably came into being with The Office craze, but a student gave it to me and I did not buy it for myself, contrary to popular rumor, and I like to think they were being truthful with their gift. I know better, though.
6. Pictures of family: All youth pastors have to have the obligatory pictures of family and I proudly display mine on my desk and on the heating vent for all to see.
7. a miniature pool table with pool sticks that kids like to fight and knock stuff over with: it was left here by a previous youth pastor so I kind of inherited the problem but I can't get rid of it as it brings many hours of amusement for the junior highers.
8. my huge orange coffee thermos mug: it's orange, huge, has a handle, holds coffee, and it's famous around the school. Need I say more?
9. bulletin board: with athletic schedules, youth group calendar, pictures of teens, a birthday ribbon, my Fox 40 whistle, a weird shaped mirror, and funny pictures I printed off the internet for the teens to see.
10. dry erase board: with activity ideas for the future, lesson subject ideas, stuff to do/remember for the mission trip to Mexico, and various reminders, topped with four dry-erase markers and an eraser
11. a real live Mexican sombrero on the wall: given to me as a gift from a family at my last church, it's another youth pastor must-have.
There's lots more to mention but I'll stop there. Maybe I'll mention some more later. I know you won't be able to wait.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Mafia and religion

I just got finished playing a game called "Mafia" with some eighth graders. I just taught it to them yesterday and they begged to play it again today. This game entails a lot of lying or telling the truth, but the thing I pointed out to them as they were playing it today is that it doesn't matter as much as to who you are (Mafia or a townsperson) in the game, it matters as to who you get to believe you. And immediately I thought of a connection between that obviously fictional game and the religions of the world. They are all in some manner or other "fighting" for as many "believers/converts" as possible. Look at just the "religion" of Christianity (mine). I could spend an hour trying to think of all the mainline and obscure demoninations and segments of Christianity and still wouldn't be able to think of them all. And yet we lose the fact that we should all be serving the same God and working to bring people into His Kingdom and knowledge of the Savior. Instead, we fight and argue over whose denomination or "sect" is better. Unfortunately, in this world today it isn't so much about who is working hardest to bring people to know Christ, it is how many you can get to believe you whether or not you are right or not. We just want the biggest churches, the best fellowships, and most scary, the most people to come to "our side". I believe that in heaven, we will see that probably all of us were wrong on some little issues or practices that we held as "so important" or "vital to our faith/denomination" because us as humans see things somewhat skewed through our limited understanding of God's perfect Word. I wish we would as a whole get back to the basics of the Gospel: reaching people for Christ, and seeking to know Him more as we serve others in our time we have on earth. Playing Mafia is temporary and just a silly game. Playing religion is much more permanent and much more serious.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Monday I got to meet with a couple area youth pastors and we were able to brainstorm and come up with a couple activities to do with our combined youth groups and some other churches. It was a good time as I don't normally get to talk a lot with other yp's.

skatin' around

What a day. Having to wait two extra hours in a smelly car repair place while I'm waiting for these two jokers to figure out that all they have to do is put a brake spring on the right way and I can go home was what i dealt with today. Got home late, missed dinner (my wife was kind enough to reheat it for me), and had to relax for a bit so I could cool off. Before I went to the brake shop my day was pretty good. Had school revival chapel in the morning and stayed busy with meetings and study. Now that I'm the athletic director for the school, I met with both coaches today and got their imput on some things.
Last night I had a rollerskating activity planned at the local skating rink. Of course, as my luck would have it it was also the day God decided to send snow all afternoon and evening. Well I showed up anyway to see if anyone would come. Remember, if we were in Michigan or New York, it wouldn't be an issue. People are used to driving in snow. But West Virginia is kind of "half-south" and people have to get used to the winter stuff on the roads. But three boys actually showed up and so we went to the rink. We were the first and only people there so they let us skate around and knock each other over and stuff for about 40 minutes for free until they decided to close up shop and kicked us out. So we still had 2 hours to spend. We went over to another WV institution, Walmart, and walked around. I beat everyone else on the Rockband drums, and then we walked around the Christmas stuff they have set up. Then we went to Starbucks and used our unspent skating money on frappachinos. We joked around and talked and I really enjoyed just hanging around the guys. It was a fun change to an activity that kind of tanked. But I'm learning quickly that problems gravitate toward youth activities. Whether snow or football games, something is bound to come up. I'll get used to it.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Funeral or a party?

Well, life again shows me that there is nothing that changes but change. Last Saturday night I found out that my grandfather up in Michigan passed away. So that meant leaving Monday after school and driving up with Kiersten to see the family and do all the funeral stuff. Sunday night for youth group I was able to hit on a little of Ecclesiastes mentioning that a funeral is better than a party because it leads to serious thoughts and personal change, whereas a party is all fun and not much life searching. Most of the parties and fun activities I have been too don't lead to too much life-changing decisions and i think that's what Solomon was trying to say. We would all rather be at a party than a funeral but for serious life improvement, a party doesn't cut it. Anyway, that was in my head all week as I spent much time with a grieving family at the viewings and then the funeral. It's unfortunate that it usually takes someones death to be able to see lots of family. Maybe my family is different, but there are the family I always see, the ones I see every year or two and then the family I never see except for times like these. Sorry, random thoughts about life (death?).
I have tons of stuff going on this Sunday. I have Next Step at 5, then youth group, then I have a meeting for the mission trip after youth group. Being gone for most of the last two weeks, I have much to catch up on. I know it seems like we like to say we're sooo busy and never have any time to relax and we all think that somehow that's a good thing. I like to say to people that being so busy keeps me out of trouble but it doesn't. I wish it was more of an accepted thing to not be busy. I don't know how possible that would be but it sounds good. Anyway, then Monday there is a rollerskating activity in the evening (not to forget two meeting earlier in the day) and hopefully, after that, the week slows down a bit.
Monday morning I'm meeting with some other youth pastors and youth sponsors to go over some fellowship activities and ideas. I'm looking forward to that as i don't get a chance to talk much with other yp's and bounce ideas and stuff off them. Should be a good meeting.
I'll try today and tomorrow (Saturday) to spend lots of time relaxing with family. I definitely need to get the brakes on the van replaced. We'll see how much "football time" I really have tomorrow.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Stuff going on

OK, back in the saddle of "normalcy" again. I had a good time with the three teens that actually made it with me to the Leadership Conference. The conference was not what i thought, but it was good and challenging. There were about 65 or 70 teens there and everyday was full of mostly services and leadership stuff. The speaker, Paul Whitt, was very good and the kids really liked the leadership training. If we go next year, I definitely want more kids to be able to go, but it's not a good thing to force them to go as some other schools made the juniors and seniors go and you could tell they did not really want to be there except for the fact of missing school for 3 days.
Some sad news; it sounds like my grandpa up in Michigan will not make it too much longer. I'm trying to decide when I should go up, before he goes or just for the funeral. This will be the closest family death I've had to deal with in my life. Makes me think of the uncertainty of life.
It also looks as if I'll end up being the school's athletic director. I'm not sure that I'm thrilled about that as there are a couple people who are definitely more qualified than me, but they don't want to or can't do it, and this would be another new experience for me to tackle. We'll see. It will definitely have its challenges as I'm finding out more and more about what all entails the athletic program and the history of our playing certain other schools.
Looking forward to a Saturday to mostly relax. The rest of November should be pretty busy with youth ministry stuff and school stuff. And Thanksgiving and the holiday season are almost here too. Look out.

Monday, November 3, 2008

ready or not...

So, last day before the election and here goes nothing. I early-voted last week since I'm going to be out of town tomorrow, so I got that out of the way.
A couple thoughts and personal opinions...
1. Neither of the candidates are who I picture being a good president.
2. I will be really glad when this crap is over for another four years
3. I don't trust anything either political camp says and don't really trust politicians in general any more than I could throw them.
4. Sounds like voter fraud and messing with voters tomorrow will be a big story. It pays to not be dumb.
5. Why are the issues now all of a sudden Joe the Plumber's opinions, the stock market, and who will bring the troops home faster? Even though both say that Afghanistan is where it will be at.
6. I want to not care at all but i do.

Hitting the road in a couple hours to the Leadership Conference (see previous post) so I will be back this weekend.
Either vote, or don't say a word when things don't turn out as you had hoped.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Stuff going on

OK, so I'm really excited because I finally get to go out of town somewhere. I wish my wife could go with me but there's the whole "kids and teaching" thing. oh well. Tomorrow after lunch I'm taking three students to the Student Leadership Conference in central WV. We'll be there until Thursday morning. I started with about 15 interested kids, then went to 7 who wanted to go, then down to 5 signed up and now because of sickness and other stuff I have three. We'll see when I pull out of the church parking lot tomorrow if I still have three going. Here's hoping. I'm trying not to be negative because I originally planned this to be a side trip thing for the Next Step class. Then I found out none of the public school kids can miss any days and most of the Christian school kids couldn't either or didn't have the money. I tried to make it more affordable for my youth ministry kids be paying for half of the cost if they were part of my youth group but that still didn't help much. But hey, God knows and i hope it's a great week for the teens who are going as well as for myself. Talk about changing the whole goal of an activity but as a youth pastor, I'm learning that comes with the territory.
Had fun at a party Saturday night. A family from the school who has 6 kids had a harvest party and invited pretty much all the Jr. and Sr. High students and teachers. I had fun running around with the kids and goofing off as well as playing with the bonfire. I know I was a pyromaniac in a previous life. Then today at church we were supposed to have a group from Northland Bible College be here in the evening, and they showed up for S.S. this morning. So my family and I took the six in the group out for Chinese after the morning service and then I came home and finished watching the new Indiana Jones movie because it had to be returned tonight. Then choir practice and the special service with the Northland group, and afterwards we had pizza and drinks and stuff while the teens hung out with the college kids. There were around 25 kids and I was glad to see a couple returning visitors and a couple kids come back that had missed a bunch of weeks. We played a game and then I just came home a little bit ago and packed for the trip.
I would like this week to be 1. a chance to get to know better the three teens who are going, 2. a good relaxing yet challenging retreat, 3. a time to challenge my ideas and info about leadership, 4. a challenging time for the teens, 5. the start to a closer walk with God in these teens lives and in turn, in this Christian school. I would really like to get some good, practical stuff to pass on to the Next Step kids. We'll see. God is in charge of my ministry and I need to trust Him to do what is best.