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Ten Year High School Reunion

Just got news yesterday about my upcoming ten year high school reunion. It's setup for this summer and sounds like a dinner and a little get together the next day. I'm thinking it'll be fun to see folks I haven't seen in... well, like, ten years. But, then I get to thinking, why would that be fun?

I mean, I haven't seen these people in ten years?

I guess it's that same sort of emotion that leads people to cyber-stalking on MySpace. We're not talking "sociopath cyber-stalking." Just normal curiosity, like whatever it is that makes people watch shows like VH1's "Where Are They Now?"

Really, there are some people I probably don't care about seeing. But, it'll be fun to reconnect with old friends that just lost touch. It's already bringing back a flood of memories that I haven't thought about it years.

Well, if sitcoms are any indicator of reality (and you know they must be... because they're on tv... and if it's on tv, it must be true...), right about now is when I'm suppose to panic about losing ten pounds and start checking into that Rogaine stuff.

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A Quote for Friday

"Three Rules of Work:
Out of clutter find simplicity;
From discord find harmony;
In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity."

Albert Einstein

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Team Ministry as Coaching

According to Bear Bryant, legendary Alabama football coach, good coaches:
1. Tell players what you expect of them.
2. Give players an opportunity to perform.
3. Let players know how they're doing.
4. Instruct and empower players when they need it.
5. Reward players according to their contribution.

I'm thinking about how these ideas play into volunteer ministry teams.
1. Clear expectations of volunteers up front; some sort of one- to three- sentence job description.

2. Give volunteers meaningful ways to volunteer, set 'em up, and let 'em get to it.

3. Feed back is necessary - can be formal (general comments in team meetings, etc.) or informal (casual conversations during or following events, going to lunch, etc.) - but keep communication open.

4. Don't throw volunteers to the lions. Set them up to succeed by giving some basic youth ministry training. And seek to nurture their spiritual health.

5. Give recognition. Celebrate successes. And celebrate as a team.

Right now, I don't think this is something I'm super-terrific at, but something I hope to grow into. I like the thought of viewing it as a 'coaching' situation. And, Bear Bryant was a pretty decent ball coach.

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Teen Girls and Alcohol

I just saw a brief interview from TODAY about underage drinking and teen girls. They were talking with Kimberly Williams, a psychologist with the NYU child studies center, and Kylee Darcy, creator of this PSA about girls and underage drinking. Take a look at these PSAs from alot2lose.com (and then go see the website). It's an effort to focus on some of the social consequences of alcohol for teenagers. I think it's an important aspect to point out to teens, since that's sometimes more "real" to them than car wrecks and punishment from parents.

A couple of stats from the interview that stood out to me:
- 15% of the alcohol sold in US is consumed by underage drinkers (more that $22 billion per year)
- Girls are 7x likelier to give into peer pressure than boys their age
- 1 in 4 teen girls will participate in binge drinking (5 or more drinks in one sitting)

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A Quote for Friday

"People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone."

Audrey Hepburn

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From Victim to Leadership

Because the nature of ministry is so people intensive, there are often conflicts or struggles in leadership. Whether the issues are legit or not, nobody likes a whiner, and chronic complaining usually doesn't change that which is being complained about. This SYM article by Mark Devries says a little about the journey from victim to leader. He offers three decisions that will help the transition from a reactive to a proactive leadership perspective.

I will take responsibility for creating the change I want to see.
I will focus on what I can do and ignore what I can’t.
I will stop blaming and start leading.

Check it out to see how he puts a little flesh on these ideas.

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The Chair

A little something to encourage those who work in youth ministry. Yeah, there's some cliches to it, but it's entertaining and hits just close enough to reality to seem familiar.

It's the skit guys if you've never seen/heard them.

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Best. Kitchen. Tool. Ever.

I don't care if you're pro-NRA or not. This is awesome. I'm thinking Christmas, birthday, Tuesday... whatever excuse you want, I'll take one!

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Um... Didn't See That One Coming

Wednesday night, I get home and sit down on the couch to talk to Shannon a little bit.

"How'd your small group go?" she asks me.

"Pretty good," I tell her.

Wednesday nights we meet with youth small groups; me a group of high school guys, her a group of middle school girls.

I go on to tell her we talked about some of the drinking/drug habits of teens at their school and convictions and resisting negative peer pressure and questions about relative truth. "What about you guys?" I ask.

"The fossil remains of unicorns."

Speechless, I sat there a moment, just looking at her. "I wouldn't have guessed that."

Turns out, they'd gotten into a discussion about creation vs evolution and that led to some debate about whether or not God had created dinosaurs. Shannon directed the conversation to the creation story in Genesis about God creating animals (days five and six). This prompted the question, "So, is this when God made the unicorns, too?"

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The Spiritual Gift of Kung Fu

Sometimes you just have to use the gifts you're given to save the day. But you often have to have a friend like Larry.

I wish I had a friend like Larry.

And the gift of Kung Fu.

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