I drove out of Pensacola last Monday morning at 4:40 a.m. - heading east on I - 10 to be in Daytona Beach before 1:00 p.m. This was my first long drive in my new (old) car and it was also the longest drive I have done since my left foot surgery. I made it down in plenty of time - was even able to have lunch with Doug at Boston Market!
I was in Daytona Beach to take my 2nd class from Huntington University for 3 days. 3 pretty long days of lecture and it was FANTASTIC! Steve Gerali is my professor and the class is "Issues in Adolescence". I was the only girl in the class which actually turned out to be really fun - especially in a class where you are mainly talking about puberty - including erections and periods and all the other things that come with being an adolescent. I feel like I learned so much!
Most of the time in the church it seems that we perpetuate an image of what a "good christian" should look like. And some of my kids do fit in that mold - but what about the rest of the students that are involved and are trying to figure God out and ask hard questions and don't just take everything that leaders say as truth? Are they not Christian? We are learning more and more about brain development in adolescents and part of where they are in the later years of adolescence is that they need to question...they need to have a place where they can ask hard questions and wrestle with what is true for them. They need this for their brain development! And the church wants to tell them what the answers are and expect them to buy into it...so then when they go away to college??? They figure out that most of the "answers" that the church has given them - don't work or aren't true but they are safe and they decide that Christianity isn't for them. Sigh...I want to be part of a community that tries really hard to change this...So I am praying for God to help me to continue to see all my students through His eyes...and to love them where they are.
It was a great class and we were finished on Wednesday by 1:00 p.m.
Then I got back on the interstate and eventually back to I-10 to head west towards Panama City Beach. I am part of a 7 person committee that puts together a weekend retreat called Meltdown for about 50 churches in Northeast Florida/South Alabama churches. Mostly United Methodist but other denominations come as well. The committee met together on Wednesday with many other volunteers for the weekend AND Big Stuf Productions and we started to get all the details for our weekend together. I had a great time at Meltdown this time - we average about 1500 students and adults and every year we are always amazed at how everything comes together.
This year I was in charge of the speaker and the prayer room. Our theme this year was "Go" which was to encourage the students to look at their lives and see where they could GO and share the good news of Jesus Chrits. We had Mark Oestreicher this year and he was right on...this is his only student speaking engagement for the year and as of a couple weeks ago, it might be his last student speaking engagement ever. He is trying to eliminate things in his life that he doesn't have to do so that he can stay home more with his family. Which is fantastic.
Steve Fee did our worship again for the second time - and did a great job as well. He is getting better and better at engaging the students in his songs - good stuff.
The other thing that I was in charge of was the prayer room. I have spent the last year trying different prayer stations on my students and trying to find resources from other events and people who have been using prayer stations in their events and ministries. I picked 21 stations and was able with LOTS of help to actually have 18 stations in the room - I think all of them worked pretty well. I will do a write up of them later one.
I do want to say thanks to Gavin Richardson for his worship room at Youth 2007 - because he gave me permission to use some of his worship experiences for this room!
I got back to the church from Meltdown yesterday around 3:30 and just stayed till UMY started at 6:00 p.m.
Now I am planning for SuperBowl stuff, Ash Wednesday, Lenten Services and our youth fundraiser on February 8th~
And then I am going to sleep for a couple of days.
It's been good though -