Monday, December 31, 2012

Sad Day in the Mahaffy Home

This morning, sadly, our daughter Natalia woke to find her hamster Gus barely clinging to life. We did our best to revive him, but in he end he didn't make it. Natalia was a very good mother to him, and we are grieving with our little girl.

Books I Read in 2012

  1. 101 Conversation Starters for Families by Gary D Chapman and Ramon L. Presson
  2. 1984 by George Orwell
  3. A Heart for the Community: New Models for Urban and Suburban Ministry by John E. Fuder and Noel Castellanos
  4. A Hobbit Journey: Discovering the Enchantment of J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth by Matthew Dickerson
  5. Counterfeit Gods by Timothy Keller
  6. Creative Journal Writing: The Art and Heart of Reflection by Stephanie Dowrick
  7. Do Hard Things by Alex and Brett Harris
  8. Everybody's Called to Youth Ministry by Darren Sutton
  9. Fragments by Dan Wolgemuth
  10. I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution by Craig Marks and Rob Tannenbaum
  11. If I Knew Then What I Know Now by Len Woods and Dave Veerman
  12. Invitation to Solitude and Silence by Ruth Haley Barton
  13. Pistol: The Life of Pete Maravich by Mark Kriegel
  14. Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand
  15. Simply Christian by N.T. Wright
  16. Speaking to Teenagers by Doug Fields and Duffy Robbins
  17. Stretngths-Based Leadership by Tom Rath and Barry Conchie
  18. Texts That Linger, Words That Explode by Walter Brueggemann
  19. The Advantage by Patrick Lencioni
  20. The Church of Facebook by Jesse Rice
  21. The Complete Short Stories of Earnest Hemmingway
  22. The Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard
  23. The Necessity of Prayer by E.M. Bounds
  24. The Next Christians: The Good News About the End of Christian America by Gabe Lyons
  25. The Pastor by Eugene Peterson
  26. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
  27. The Ring Makes All the Difference: The Hidden Consequences of Cohabitation and the Strong Benefits of Marriage by Glenn T. Stanton
  28. The Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations by Rod A. Beckstrom and Ori Brafman
  29. There is a God by Anthony Flew
  30. Two Sides by Darren Sutton
  31. When Church Kids Go Bad by Les Christie
  32. Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Friday, December 28, 2012

Enjoying Plays in NYC

During the past two weeks our family was able to go to New York City to enjoy a couple of plays. The first was the 85th Anniversary of The Rockettes Radio City Music Christmas Spectacular, and the second was Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas The Musical. Very fun!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Music Video to Get You Thinking About My Message Sunday

This Sunday I will be preaching at Shelter Rock Church (Syosset campus). If you're local, join us at 178 Cold Spring Rd., Syosset, NY 11091. If you aren't local, you can watch live at 9:30 or 11am EST online (Click the Syosset tab above video feed):

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

2012 Christmas Card

Monday, December 24, 2012

Frog Relaxing and Enjoying Life

SRC Student Ministries Spring Calendar 2013

Keeping Youth Ministry Simple

"Most youth workers are able to spend, at most, maybe eight hours a week with their most committed students, tops (unless it happens to be a mission trip week or a retreat weekend). Figure two or three hours on Sunday (unless you're a parachurch youth worker), a couple more at some kind of midweek meeting or Bible study, and maybe another small slice of time at a church or school event.

"Each week has only 168 hours, which means we have access to our most committed Christian teenagers for, at most, 5% of their time during the few years they're with us.

"Annually, we have access to our devoted church kids for, oh, let's say 40-45 Sundays. And maybe they attend a similar number of youth meetings. That gives us a maximum of 80 to 90 shots at an extremely devout student's heart and mind each year. Eighty-five chances to speak into his life. Eighty-five opportunities to teach him about God.

"Now, let's say we have a highly involved kid for six years (seventh through twelfth grades). Add retreats and camps to the equation: then subtract absences due to illness, schedule conflicts, and family vacations. What you're left with is - at most - about 500 'official' chances to teach and train. And that's for the most committed students whose families don't relocate.

"That may sound like a lot of opportunities. But remember, we live in a big, ever-changing, messy, scary world filled with a myriad of mysteries, concerns, and questions. Time flies in the Information Age. New issues arise out of the blue. We can easily become reactive, following every new trend that emerges and becoming haphazard in what we teach.

"If I knew then what I know now, I'd have made the proactive, conscious decision to stick to a few basics. I'd have sat down in the first days of my tenure and come up with an irreducible minimum.

"What basic biblical truths do I want students to understand upon leaving the group? What essential spiritual disciplines do I want my youth to practice? What character qualities would I like to see growing in them?

"I'd sit down with my advisory team and my volunteer workers and list those things - the fundamental beliefs, nonnegotiable behaviors, and essential virtues. And that's where I'd camp. I'd hammer them over and over. I'd come at them from every possible angle. Again and again. Reminding, Restating. Rephrasing. Teaching and reteaching. I'd embrace a simplified curriculum of the basics.

"Once I had my list of essentials, I'd get out the calendar and start scheduling exactly how and when we 'd go about creatively emphasizing each of them. A planned series here. A scheduled message there. I'd avoid the common 'hot topic du jour' approach, and I'd be more intentional, more systematic, more disciplined, more focused. I'd opt for the important over the weird, the essentials over the tangents. I'd 'preach (and teach) the Word' (2 Timothy 4:2)."

(Excerpt from Woods, Len & Veerman, Dave If I Knew Then What I Know Now, pp. 82-82)

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Hangin' With Friend & Youth Ministry Volunteer at Madison Square Garden

Today my friend Dominic and I went to the Gotham Classic between #3 Syracuse and unranked Temple at Madison Square Garden. Before the game we had fun watching warmups down close to the floor. At one point a huge kid stood next to me and I discovered he played for Syracuse. When Dominic saw him he greeted him enthusiastically. Turns out he went to high school in Syosset with Dom's son. Temple won thanks to Syracuse not hitting their free throws.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Shelter Rock Student Missions Trips 2013!

Hangin' With Students at Madison Square Garden

On Monday night a friend gave me 3 tickets to the Knicks vs. Rockets at Madison Square Garden, and I invited two of my students, Connor and Steven, to go to the game with me. We had a great time hanging out and getting to know each other while watching the game. I always appreciate these opportunities to build relationships with my students outside of our regular meeting times. Also, during halftime, as I was walking to the restroom, I saw 2 of my former students and their father. What are the odds?! It was neat talking with them and catching up as well. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Monday, December 17, 2012

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Faith Quote

"You can have strong faith in weak ice and not live to tell about it. 

You can have weak faith in strong ice and it's okay. 

It's not as much our faith level as it is the thing in which we have faith."

- Unknown

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Friday, December 14, 2012

Christmas Rap

Christmas Rap from HSM on Vimeo.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Youth Ministry: 5 Things I Tried to Communicate At Initial Parent Meeting

This past Sunday I had the opportunity to meet with the parents of the students in the new youth ministry I just moved into a month ago. After meeting with some people and asking for their input on what would be advantageous to address in our meeting, here are the 5 things I chose to focus on and did my best to communicate in our parent meeting:
  1. Shared Our Story. I wanted them to know our family and a bit of our history so that they could have some context to be able to understand who we are.
  2. Explained Our Philosophy of Youth Ministry. I want them to understand our values and how we make decisions about what we will do and how we will do it.
  3. Upcoming Events. I gave them information about two big events coming up and told them that our leadership team is finalizing a calendar for the next 6 months that will be in their hands in the next 2 weeks so that they could plan accordingly.
  4. Offered Partnership and Called For Commitment. I shared what we feel the purpose of youth ministry is and committed to parents that we are going to do our very best to deliver on what we feel called to do - partner with them to help their kids discover and passionately live for Jesus. I then tried to clearly call parents to help us communicate to their children that Jesus is a priority by encouraging their kids to participate, invite their un-churched friends, and make the sacrifices necessary for their kids to be involved. 
  5. Opened Floor For Questions and Input. I believe this is the most important thing we did. We can talk all day, but if we don't answer the questions people are asking, we've wasted their time. I tried to ensure that the content I communicated above would address things people would be asking by surveying some people ahead of time. But there were still some questions (some very good and insightful ones, I might add). Whether they ask a lot of questions, a few, or none, affording them the opportunity to do so communicates that we care about what they have to say.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Shelter Rock Student Ministries Christmas Party THIS Sunday!

Wear Your Ugliest Christmas Sweater &
Come On Out For A Night Of
Christmas Games.
Bring a $5-10 White Elephant Gift for a Gift Exchange.
Invite Your Friends!

Tim Hawkins on Hand Raising

Monday, December 10, 2012

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Friday, December 7, 2012

Free Youth Leader Training Webinar with Greg Stier!

Becoming a Leader Worth Following
Tuesday December 11, 2012
12:00-1:00pm CST (10-11am Pacific, 11-Noon Mountain, 1-2pm Eastern) 
Sign Up Here.

Happy Birthday to My Sister & An Unforgettable Dear Santa ...

Happy Birthday to my sister April! I'm proud of the woman and mother she is. 

Here's a letter her oldest daughter wrote to Santa Claus this year. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Students Helping Those In Need

On Friday night we took a team of students into Queens to work with La Jornada to prepare meals and sort donated clothes for distribution to those in need. We worked hard preparing sandwiches, salad, fruit, as well as bags of rice, corn, salt, and pasta. Afterward we went out to TGIF's to hang out and build relationships. Fun! Proud of our kids!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

4 Reasons for Regular Team Meetings

Here are 4 reasons I believe regular volunteer meetings are a must. Not every meeting needs to encompass all 4 purposes (although they might), but when we gather together, we want to do so with intentionality.
  1. Community. What's going on in our personal lives? How can we be supporting and praying for one another? We want our team to be more than just a group of people coming together to accomplish tasks. We want to foster authentic relationships so that we can work together as friends.
  2. Coaching. What can we learn to make us better youth workers? What are our students facing that we need to be better equipped to deal with? How can we grow personally to be more effective instruments in God's hands?
  3. Celebration. What's been happening? How have we seen God moving in our ministry? What are the recent "wins" we've experienced? This is a time to hear stories from the trenches.
  4. Communication. What's coming up? What do we want to see? Where are we going? How are we going to get there? What needs to be clarified? This is a time for brainstorming, calendaring, planning, asking questions, etc.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

101 Conversation Starters for Families

Nothing fosters family connection like when the power goes out. All of a sudden you find yourself camping in your home. Lanterns and flash lights come out along with board games and cards. Another thing I love pulling out at times like these are discussion-starter books.

Thanks to Hurricane Sandy, we were without power for fourteen days and I was able to put to good use 101 Conversation Starters for Families by Gary Chapman and Ramon Presson. As we went through the questions - some funny, some absurd, some serious - we really had did get a glimpse into one another's lives. We had many moments of laughter and even many moments of authentic sharing and tears. Having just been through a major life-transition, there were many feelings and thoughts that the book drew out of us that otherwise could have remained buried. The opportunity grow in our ability to share openly and honestly, as well as the chance to grow as listeners was a healthy exercise that strengthened our familial bond.

I would recommend that every family pick up a copy of this book to put on their coffee table. Even after your family has gone through it once it can be utilized again. Over time answers to the same questions will change. You can also use it for conversations with friends when they come over.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.

You might also like to pick up a copy of my book What Would You Do? 500 Questions to Get Teens Talking. Click here to order a signed copy directly from me for just $7 (includes shipping and handling).

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A Simple Way To Help Students Affected by Hurricane Sandy

I've been sharing different ways we've been trying to help those affected by Hurricane Sandy here on Long Island. I shared about my friend Brian who was working for Young Life in Long Beach. He along with many of the students he worked with lost virtually everything.

I asked Brian what we could do to help. I was expecting him to say they needed people to come down and help cleanup or bring food. While those things certainly need to be done, his answer was, "Can you just have your students write letters of hope and encouragement to our students?" So many of his students were displaced (one had to leave and go all the way to Texas to live with relatives) and they also lost their meeting spaces as they often met in homes of students.

Last Sunday night we took some time out of our regular service to have the kids all write notes to their peers. We collected them and I just put them in the mail for Brian to hand out to his students. As I looked through the letters our students wrote, I was so touched by their care and compassion. I pray the students who receive them will be as well.

If you work with students and would like to have your students write letters, you can send them to me and I will send them on to Brian. Here are a few guidelines as well as my address to send them to:
  • Have boys write to boys and girls write to girls. We had our kids address their notes "Hey Dude" or "Hey Guy" or "Hey Girlfriend" or "Dear Girl" ... something generic so we could differentiate.
  • Invite them to be creative but sensitive. If kids are artistic, invite them to draw or paint pictures.
  • Ask students not to use their last names or give personal information.
  • Read through the letters before sending them to ensure that no one wrote anything insensitive, inappropriate, too personal, etc.
  • Separate the letters into letters for boys and letters for girls.
  • Mail to: Shelter Rock Church Attn: Kevin Mahaffy - 626 Plandome Rd., Manhasset, NY 11576

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Monday, November 19, 2012

F.O.R.M.U.L.A. for Initiating Conversations

Last weekend my friend and co-pastor at Shelter Rock Church Jerry O'Sullivan and I led a team of students to New York City on an outreach. Jerry shared with the group a helpful little acronym for initiating conversations with people. Just use topics remembering the word: F.O.R.M.U.L.A.


Saturday, November 17, 2012

How We're Helping with Sandy Relief Efforts

Wednesday our staff from Shelter Rock Church went down to Long Beach to work with Samaritan's Purse to do hurricane cleanup. We spent the day completely gutting the home of an 80 year-old woman who had no insurance. We also helped another woman load some of her belongings that were no destroyed (because she lived in a second floor apartment) into her car, and started gutting the basement of another home. Words cannot fully describe the extent of the destruction. Every home we entered had at least a 4-foot water line, and we heard stories of people who were in their attics watching as up to 15-feet of water entered their homes when the wave hit. It was overwhelming thinking about these people who in one moment lost virtually everything they owned. Please continue to pray. If you are around Long Island and would like to serve, Samaritan's Purse offers 1/2 and full-days of volunteering.