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2011 in Review – The Ministry Story

It’s fun to look back.  So I decided to do a few posts recapping 2011.  This first one is from the ministry standpoint and contains some of the highlights in each month of ministry.  As I typed this up it was very exciting and at the same time, I was kind of disappointed because the only thing you can really do in bullet point lists is share the events and activities that took place.  For each bullet point you read below there were probably TEN text message, phone calls, facebook messages, coffee shop discussions, conversations in workcamp vans, and more that took place with students and volunteers that also pointed people to Jesus.   I hope you are encouraged by the amazing things God has done in and through the high school and young adult ministries at First Trinity in 2011.  I know I was! 🙂

 

January

  • Kicked off the year of ministry right away as we were in the midst of a New Year’s Lock-in for the high school students.
  • Finished a study on the book of Ephesians in high school Sunday school and kicked off “Generation Change”, the student version of Financial Peace University.
  • I returned to my school, Concordia University in Seward, NE for our DCE Intern Mid-Year Conference.  This was an extremely helpful few days to stop, step back and take a look at what’s happening in ministry and what needs to happen moving forward.  So thankful for that time in the cornfields (but was also thankful to get back to what was slowly become my new “home” in NY).

February

  • 30 Hour Famine – 22 students, 4 churches represented, no food for 30 hours – raised funds for World Vision, collected coats for Friends of Night People, and collected food for the First Trinity Food Pantry and the Food Bank of WNY.
  • Had the opportunity to attend (and lead one night of) a Short Course studying various Psalms.  Even while leading, I truly cherished that time in the Word with other people!
  • Basement Renovations began!  – This meant we had some interesting days of figuring out where everyone in the building would actually meet, but that’s a great problem to have! 🙂

March

April

  • EASTER!  – Loved experiencing this celebration and the lenten season leading up to it in a new place. 🙂  It brought new meaning to this great celebration.
  • Basement renovations complete! – So blessed to use this space and have definitely seen time and time again the impact a physical space can have on ministry.

May

  • Service project day at Camp Pioneer – 22 First Trinity members, both youth and adult work together to help get camp ready for their summer season.
  • The Youth Band wrote a special song for Confirmation Sunday.  Interacting with those students is one of the highlights of my job as we share our love of God and music.  The weekly rehearsals create unique opportunities to learn about our Jesus through the music we sing and play.
  • Had the 8th graders join us for high school programming on Thursday nights starting after Confirmation day.  The hope was to help their transition into high school.  I think this helped some but we’ve still got some work to do to help 9th graders get connected with the group.
  • Received and accepted the call to serve at First Trinity as the Director of High School and Young Adult Ministries after my internship ends in July.

June

  • Got to celebrate with 18 high school seniors as they graduated from high school.  We had a great celebration breakfast with the high schoolers and their families, had a student/parent blessing in the church service, and gave the congregation an opportunity to share words of support and encouragement in books for them.  Makes me think of one of FT’s story statements: “Celebrate Life Together”.
  • All Youth End-of-the-Year celebration with all the youth… middle and high school.  Staff members from Pioneer Camp came in and led games and activities.
  • Scaled back activities as the school year came to a close.
  • Young Adult Trivia Night – a great event emceed by Marty and Carolyn Doster; food served by five other amazing congregation members.  A good time of connecting and a chance to use the newly renovated space.  We had a few visitors come as well.
  • My internship supervisor came for his second and final visit.  It was extremely helpful for me to get an outside view on what’s happening with the ministry here and some advice on how to best move forward.

July

  • Vacation Bible School – I got the joy of helping God’s Word come alive each day in Bible Adventures.  So fun to see all the youth as crew leaders. I long to find other ways to challenge youth to step into leadership roles.  Also had fun with a Dodgeball event afterward one day with all the high schoolers.
  • Free Carwash Service Project with the high school students.- So fun to see people’s reactions when we refused their money.
  • Workcamp – 23 high schoolers and 5 adults journeyed to Hurricane, WV for a week of service.  Great things happened in regards to group building as we traveled, served, ate, … lived… did everything together for 7 days.  The trip wrapped up with a zip-lining adventure through the gorge region of WV. The theme “CONNECT” based on John 15:5 meant a lot to all the participants and continues to come up in conversations even today.
  • Finished my internship at First Trinity. – I didn’t know it was possible to learn so much in one year… about ministry, more so, about myself.

August

  • Since my internship ended in July but my call didn’t start until the very end of August, I took a few weeks to visit with family and friends and officially move to NY.  Some awesome staffmates and volunteers kept things going here while I was away.
  • I was commissioned as a Director of Christian Education in the LCMS and installed as the Director of High School and Young Adult Ministries at First Trinity on August 27!  🙂 Loved every minute of those two days (except maybe having to sit in that giant chair at the front of the sanctuary for all three services that weekend.)

September

  • School started.  Programs started.  After being gone in August, most of what I remember about this month was that I just had to keep chugging a long to get everything done and ready for Fall programming.
  • Excitedly started the year with an awesome team of high school ministry volunteers!  High school ministry is focusing this year on the theme “LIVE IT!” which is the idea that faith is meant to go beyond our Sunday morning experience at First Trinity.  Cool stuff is happening with this theme!
  • Started doing prayer runs at the various high schools in the area.  Every time I was truly blessed and I pray others were as well.  I made it to Sweet Home, Kenmore East, NT, Kenmore West, St. Joes, Williamsville North, CCA, and Williamsville South this fall before the weather started to not cooperate.  Can’t wait to hit the rest of the high schools in the spring!
  • Walked with students through multiple situations where fellow students at their high schools had committed suicide.  Never a fun thing, but definitely a part of ministry this year. 

October

  • Crossroads had a Fall Retreat at Camp Pioneer.  It was fun to get away with the youth for a while and look more into 1 Timothy 4:12.
  • Had the opportunity to lead a breakout session at the Jr. High/High School retreat at Camp Pioneer with a few young adults from FT.

November

  • Visited many of First Trinity’s college freshmen to see how they were doing as they transitioned to college.  This included a fun (packed) day trip to Rochester, Alfred, and Fredonia.
  • Mission Madness – Raised over $30,000 for First Trinity Missions.  Can’t wait to see what God does through that money in Haiti, Wilmington, NC and beyond!
  • To Save a Life Movie Night – First Trinity paired up with St. John Orchard Park to host a movie night for high school students.  It was a great success with over 60 participants representing at least 10 churches and 22 area schools!

December

  • All Youth Christmas Party – We combined both high school and middle school students together for games, devotions, and activities celebrating the coming of our Savior.  Instead of our typical gift exchange, students were encouraged to bring cash donations to the event at which they decided how to spend the collected money to help those in needs.  Through their donations we sent 20 Bibles to China, paid for 2 Bible verses to be translated into languages that don’t have God’s Word in their languages, purchase Christmas gifts for 2 kids here in the US and rescue 4 girls out of sex trafficking.  That’s cool ministry if you ask me!
  • The Youth Band joined up with the Kingdom Quest kids for the Children’s Christmas Program.  That was definitely a fun time of celebrating Christ’s birth!

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