This summer is flying by faster than my chickens… yes I do have chickens, and yes they run & fly when I call them, and yes they are trained… okay enough of that, back to summer.
The season started quite rapidly with the promoting of all grades at our church. This was a first for us, we previously promoted in the fall at the beginning of a new school year but missed the boat with many students feeling too old for their former program during the summer. Our previous 8th graders are fully engaged and now participating in our HS program, solidifying these friendships and program as part of their schedule before their freshman year begins.
During the same 2-3 weeks we were in the trenches of a church-wide volunteer series. “You are here: Do something.” It went well…too well. There are 500 people that expressed interest in getting plugged in and trying a serving/volunteer role at our church. 180-ish of those people expressed interest in serving within NextGen. This is great and all but with our small staff processing this many people you can only imagine the amount of work on top of what we are already doing – but we are doing it and really excited to see how many become weekly volunteers in our ministry.
Enter GO! Teams. Go! Teams are the serving experiences we offer during the summer for kids/students 3-12 grade…yes 3rd graders participate! This year we had 6 different sites across the country, and 1 international site being in Haiti. Almost 200 kids, students and adult leaders served God this summer through kid’s clubs, feeding the homeless, prayer walks, relational ministry, refugee ministry, and a few small construction projects. This wouldn’t have been possible if we hadn’t had the help from our global serve leader Calla (my wife, she’s awesome) and her partnering with NextGen and our like-minded ministry partners to offer something truly special for our students.
This was the first year since being in youth ministry for 7 years that I did not lead a trip. I went as an adult leader on our Portland trip to shadow a team leader and give feedback, he did awesome! Portland is FULL of ministry opportunities, it is a city that is in desperate need of Jesus.
Getting back a few days ago, I realized there is much more work to be done this summer, but also much playing to be had!
Here’s what I have coming up – stay tuned for updates!
- Interview and accept 4 interns by September 1st for a 1-year internship in student ministry at Gateway. Interested? Apply now to our Leadership Development Program!
- Onboarding and training volunteers and small group leaders for the fall.
- Helping find a new staff member for our NextGen team. (Early Childhood)
- NextGen Family BBQ. Last year we had 800 show up to feast and meet our staff and small group leaders.
- Scheduling out the remainder of the summer and executing a 6-week trial run on new high school program hours. (we are trying a 4-6PM program time on Sundays, what works best for your highschoolers?)
- Wrapping up 2015 stumin poll and getting results out. (Sorry this has taken forever, but it’s still 2015 right?) Haven’t taken it yet? You can right here!
- Book reviews for Orange… I’m thrilled to read some of the latest from the Orange store, I just have to find the time!
- Next week I’m spending a few days in Geneva with my wife at our favorite hideaway. (Geneva, IL not Switzerland!) The Herrington Inn is a MUST for any couple wanting some R&R. It’s a real gem.
- We are buying a jeep from one of my former roommates in Chicago and driving it back to TX next week! 1,145 miles with Calla! 98′ XJ Cherokee Sport 4×4 4.0L 5spd for those Jeep freaks that want the details.
- Getting a few 14ers under my belt with Kenny Conley and flyfishing in Colorado. We are for sure going to climb Gray’s/Torrey’s peak.
- One week with no agenda, just resting and spending time in Ft. Collins, CO with my wife and her family.