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.

Friday, November 16, 2012

NYC Bowery Mission Pics

Last Friday and Saturday Pastor Jerry and I took a team of 26 into NYC to serve at The Bowery Mission. It was 2 days of hard work including feeding hundreds of people at the Bowery, helping to unload and stock donations, and outreaches in Thompkins Square Park and Staten Island. The crew that went to Thompkins did soup and food lines for those in need, and the crew that went to Staten Island provided meals for the workers who were cleaning up from the hurricane.

The students we took are potential student leaders, and it was great getting to know them (I actually memorized all of their names!) and unpacking our experiences together. It was so refreshing to be back in my favorite city.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Shelter Rock Sr. High Retreat Band Announced

I'm super excited to announce that Brad and Rebekah will be the worship band at our SRC Sr. High Retreat January 25-27th. You won't want to miss it! Registration opening soon!

I Have Decided ...

I have decided to follow Jesus;
I have decided to follow Jesus;
I have decided to follow Jesus;
No turning back, no turning back.

Though I may wonder, I still will follow;
Though I may wonder, I still will follow;
Though I may wonder, I still will follow;
No turning back, no turning back.

The world behind me, the cross before me;
The world behind me, the cross before me;
The world behind me, the cross before me;
No turning back, no turning back.

Though none go with me, still I will follow;
Though none go with me, still I will follow;
Though none go with me, still I will follow;
No turning back, no turning back.

Will you decide now to follow Jesus?
Will you decide now to follow Jesus?
Will you decide now to follow Jesus?
No turning back, no turning back.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Wondering What You Think of This Album Title ...

I saw this album in Starbucks this evening and really liked the title. What do you think? What were you born to do? Should you have a "Plan B" in life?

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Friday, November 9, 2012

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Mike Yaconelli 1 of 5: Showing Kids You Love Them

Last week marked the nine year anniversary of the youth ministry godfather Mike Yaconelli. In honor of his legacy, for the next 5 days I'll be posting videos of Mike sharing stories and insights as only Mike could.

Here's #1:

Monday, November 5, 2012

Youth Worker Affected by Hurricane Needs Work

Please pray for my buddy Brian McGee and his young family. He lost almost everything to flooding during hurricane Sandy. If anyone knows of any possible employment opportunities for him, please contact me and I will put you in touch with him. He's worked for Young Life for many years and is a great youth worker!

Just to show you what kind of guy Brian is, this was the caption under the picture of his loss:
But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider the
m rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ–the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. (Philippians 3:7-9 NIV84)

Sunday, November 4, 2012

We May Not Have Power, But We Got ...

Today we attended Shelter Rock Church for the first time as a family. We went to the Manhasset campus, and thanks to a generator, we were able to have some sound for the worship team and speaker, and we were also able to enjoy fellowship with hot coffee and cocoa. The Syosset campus did not have power, but also met. In spite of the circumstances, both campuses had great turnouts. There was a real atmosphere of hope and encouragement. After church we mingled for quite some time, meeting lots of folks, then we went out for lunch as a family. On the way home we stopped by Carvel and picked up an ice cream cake for everyone at the home we are staying in and had this written on it:

Tomorrow is my first official day of work. It sounds like it will be an abbreviated one due to the storm and the lack of gas for people to get around and power, but I am excited to see everyone. School has been cancelled yet again tomorrow for the girls. Their first day was supposed to be last Monday, but school has been cancelled every day so far. They are itching to go, but we just have to be patient and wait for the infrastructure of the Island to be able to support their return. Gas lines still crazy!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Passing the Time During Hurricane Sandy

We are still without power, but we are blessed to be staying with a wonderful family from the church, and fortunately they have a generator. We are able to turn it on in the mornings and the evenings for a bit, so we are able to get hot showers. Other than that we are passing the time being entertained by watching the dogs and playing hours and hours of Dutch Blitz. Today Adriana worked for Chanel. Natalia and I decided to walk over to Shelter Rock's Syosset campus, but we accidentally turned left instead of right on one road and what was supposed to be a 2-mile walk there turned into 6 miles. We had a nice time together, though, and were able to get a ride back to the house. We have church tomorrow despite the fact that we do not have power at either campus. It will be great to meet some of the folks from the church. I am also looking forward to being able to see our house. Yesterday we were so busy unloading the van so Ady could go to work that I did not have a chance to look around. Praying we are able to get power back soon. I just spoke with our landlord and as of now there are no prospects of when it will be back up, so it's just sit and wait. Also, please pray for the gas situation here. Lines are hours long, and we heard reports today of a couple of people being shot for trying to cut in line. We are personally in good shape with gas (the kind for the car) and are just trying not to drive anywhere unnecessarily. 

Friday, November 2, 2012

Home Sweet Home!

I finally arrived on Long Island last night at 11:30pm. I got to the first exit in New Jersey and pulled off for gas only to find police blocking all of the stations because they were out of gas. I turned around and went to 3 stations in Pennsylvania and finally found some. I'm keeping this short because I only have 10 minutes of power left on my computer. Glad to see my girls! More later.