Walking the line between nerd and cool.


Increasing Scrip Awareness/Sales

I’m looking for ways to increase sales for our Scrip program, one of three ways we pay for Short-Term Missions around these parts. I’m starting to work on two publicity pieces for people:

  1. A new “What is Scrip and Why Should I Care?” type of brochure. There are still lots of people who don’t know much about the program I imagine.
  2. A Christmas Scrip flier.

So I’m looking for some help:

  • What are questions you have about Scrip?
  • What are things people who’ve never heard about it would like to know?
  • What gift cards are especially important to have in stock at Christmas?
  • What would make cards sell better at Christmas?

Really, any ideas you have for raising awareness and/or sales, I’d love to hear them, so post them in the comments, please!


Rooted: The Psalms

Rooted starts up soon. This Sunday is our informational meeting for students who are interested in participating. I’m excited about it. Last year we looked at Philippians and we had a great time working through the book together.

This year we’re going to be working in the Psalms. In specific, we’ll hit these:

  1. Psalm 1 // Torah
  2. Psalm 119 (selections) // Torah
  3. Psalm 73 // Wisdom
  4. Psalm 95 // Praise
  5. Psalm 74 // Lament
  6. Psalm 84 // Zion
  7. Psalm 32 // Thanksgiving
  8. Psalm 116 // Thanksgiving

The material comes from Simply Youth Ministry. You can download a sample of the curriculum and check out Doug Fields’ description of the different types of Psalms.

One of the joys of Rooted is that we get to work through the Bible in more depth than Sunday School and really dig in. It’s also an opportunity to teach kids how to study God’s Word. I’m looking forward to another great year in God’s Word with our youth.

If you’re in High School (or your child is), the informational meeting is this weekend after church. It won’t be very long—maybe 30 minutes at most—but it’s useful in helping students decide if they want to participate.

Connecting the Dots: People Matter

I didn’t tell our High School students about our “Super Series” concept we’re currently working through at church. The idea is simple: everyone at church “rowing in the same direction” as we study the same topic across all age groups, from worship to Sunday school to Life groups.

I wish I could say it was part of some sneaky test to see if the kids caught on, but the truth is, I just forgot to mention it. So we worked through a “Families Matter” a week ago, then “Communities Matter” this past Sunday, just like everyone else.

Yesterday at Sunday School, Laura Ciminelli says “Hey, this is what the daily devotions have been about this week!” Yup. I guess she passed the test I didn’t intentionally give. This tells me there’s some real strength behind this idea. So fun to see her make the connection on her own, too!

Prayer Party

We had what we’re now calling a “Prayer Party” last night for Jennie with our youth group at church.  Here’s how the name came about:

On the way to the Lake yesterday, Kelsey was telling me about her experience at camp this year. She told me that she had mentioned some other counselors that she had been at a prayer party just before leaving for camp. The prayer party was a special gathering we had to pray for Annie as she was getting ready for her 2nd surgery.

After a little bit of ribbing and laughing, one of the other counselors asked what that meant. Kelsey told them how we get together and pray for youth who are having surgery. It usually involves goodies of some sort, gifting a blanket to the youth who is having surgery, then laying hands on and praying for them and their family.

After hearing the description, the other counselors expressed how they wished their youth group did the same thing.

It’s funny how “traditions” get started, but the Prayer Party is a fun one for us now. It’s great to see God working through them. And I imagine He might even feel like it’s a party when His kids come together to lift one another up in prayer.

Workcamp Debrief 2009

Several days after our return, I’m back to what might be considered “normal” for my summer schedule.  As I look back at this Workcamp, here are a few of my thoughts:

  • We were able to stop in Piqua, Ohio, site of last year’s Workcamp, and remember what God did through us in that place. What a joy it was. My van didn’t figure it out until we were on the road leading to the school. Piqua is a bit of a Spiritual Memorial for us. We told some stories of God’s work in Piqua and shared things we thought the first-timers should know as they start their first Workcamp.  We can’t do it every year, but it was great to do it this time.
  • This was our longest drive for Workcamp in a while.  About 32 hours total when we were all finished. Car rides are some of the best times as people get mixed around and get to know one another better.  We drew seat assignments at random with the help of our VBS Bible Buddies, colored paper and Airheads that were sent to us as a care package.
  • These were our worst living conditions ever at a Group Workcamp. Some highlights:
    • Our girls were packed wall-to-wall with barely any room for luggage.
    • Some girls combined sleeping arrangements to save space. This meant three girls on two air mattresses.
    • There were no windows in most rooms, combined with little cooling from the air conditioning. Fans made it tolerable, but not great.
    • We had cold showers built of PVC pipe and tent material.
    • The gas to the kitchen was turned off because the church failed to pay the bill.  This meant some creative cooking, including waffles for 100 people from a single toaster, corn in a microwave then kept warm wrapped in foil and my personal favorite: spaghetti cooked in a coffee urn.
  • As you might imagine, this led to some struggles for us.  It’s hard to have a positive attitude about the living conditions, especially if you’ve been on one of these trips before but as Kelsey pointed out, we were still living better than the average person in Haiti.
  • After the initial shock, our youth did remarkably well at keeping a positive attitude and not letting the conditions ruin the trip.  If anything, we are much closer than when we started, partly because of the conditions.
  • This is by far the most emotional trip I have ever been a part of.  Without going into lots of details, it’s sufficient to say that we were (and are!) pushing through a dip (see image below), both as individuals and as a group. Satan was definitely trying to get a foot in the door, but our God is bigger than Satan, and already victorious.  And because He’s victorious, we are victorious. Satan cannot stop what God is doing. Habakkuk Dip Chart
  • I believe our group is coming out of this trip closer together than ever before.  It’s amazing how God works these things out.  I believe we are on the brink of an amazing time in youth ministry, or Satan would not be trying so hard to break it up.  I wrote about big things coming back on May 22, 2008. I feel like we’re getting closer to that new thing. God is preparing “a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” It’s exciting.
  • I’m so proud of our youth for rallying together through this dip. It would have been totally understandable to let the accommodations and other issues ruin this trip, but they didn’t let that happen.  We chose to focus on God instead of our own circumstances.
  • Our after-event was one of the best ones ever.  Whitewater rafting is just plain fun, but it was even more fun with this group.  At least three people were a little anxious about this part, and all three came on the boats and loved the experience. It was a great group-building event at the end of a long week. We had purchased a waterproof camera to document the trip, but we left it at the church we were staying at.  Once again, our group kept a positive attitude. We took lots of “pictures” with our hand-camera. People would pose and someone else would snap a photo with their hands. We even did a group shot with the “timer” so everyone could be in one together.  Megan put them all in a photo-book for us. Stop by my office and I’d be happy to show it to you. 🙂

And now, I leave you with some photos.  First, we have the photo video via Animoto, then some of my pictures on PicasaWeb.

WordPress is not playing nice with the video.  Click here to see it at Animoto’s site.

Workcamp 2009

Workcamping We Go!

We leave for Workcamp today.  We’ll try to post updates here as we are able.  You can for sure get updates on my Twitter feed: Twitter.com/JasonTheDCE.

Workcamp T-Shirts

Here’s our Workcamp T-Shirt for this year.  Big thanks to Randy for the design:

Workcamp T-Shirt

Our Workcamp shirts are becoming something of a spiritual memorial.  After we’re back, they remind us of the work we did in a particular city.  We can remember what God has done in the past and look forward to what He will do in the future.