Last Night at Youth Group...


Today I begin what I hope will be a pretty regular segment on my blog called "Last Night at Youth Group." The title pretty much says it all. Here we go...

Last night at youth group we played Scatter Ball, one of our favorite games. Mad props go out to Mike Allred and Ben Herman for suggesting that we use painter's tape to create a playing space in the gym so that no one could hide behind the random objects along the walls of the room! 

Scatter Ball is 'Every-Man-For-Himself' Dodge Ball. Everyone starts in the middle of the room holding a ball. We countdown, toss the balls in the air and scatter. Pick up a ball, throw it at a friend and get them out. People who are "out" take a knee and wait for a ball to roll to them. Hit someone and take their place. The game ends with the last man standing. 

No one won, but we had a lot of fun! Props to Mackenzie Quick for keeping the music blasting during game time.

As I hope you can see, we had lots of fun!!!

After game time, Mike Cockrell led us in some praise and worship time alongside Rob Gulatsi, Morgan Affeldt, Paige Corbin and Kylie & Mackie Watkins!! Props to Cory Longenecker for running my less-than-stellar PowerPoint lyrics slide show! 

The Range Family provided rice crispy treats and cheez-its for snack along with much needed and appreciate bottles of water. 

We continued our lesson series "Knowing the Word" by beginning to answer the question, "What is the Bible?" 

Thanks to our friends from Scrubs, we learned that you can't just pick up the Bible, open to a random page and expect to really understand a whole lot of what's going on in the passage.

We learned that the Bible is:

1) A Collection. The Bible is the authoritative collection of works given by God to humanity. 

2. Composed of Two Testaments. The most significant division in the Bible is the division between two Testaments, or two smaller collections of writing: The Old Testament and the New Testament.

3) A Story. The complete collection of God's revelation to humanity is in the form of story- the story of what God is accomplishing in this world. 

4) About Jesus. The focus and hero of the Bible is Jesus. In some way, every part of the Bible points forward to Christ or points back to him.

5) God's Word. God is present in and through the Bible in a special way so that he continues to speak to us today. His voice reaches out to us today through the Bible. 

6) Complete. God has spoken and given us the Bible, and there is no reason to believe that he will ever add to it. What he means to tell us he has told us.

7) Trustworthy. Because the Bible originates from God, it reflects the character of God. For that reason, we can believe that the Bible is without error and perfectly reliable. What God says is true.

While there are many different genres of literature in the Bible, something we'll discuss in detail in two weeks, the Bible can best be read like a novel. Take a TV show like Scrubs as an example. The creator, directors, producers and even the actors wouldn't want you to jump into an episode randomly. Instead, they'd want you to watch the show through from beginning to end (even through some of the bad episodes). 

Yes, reading the Bible is challenging for a variety of reasons. It's daunting, it's boring, we don't know where to start, we don't feel like we get anything out of it, we don't have time, etc. 

Yet God has given us everything we need to know in this life for teaching, reproof, correction and training in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16-17) through the Bible. 

In small group time we discussed these points in more detail before taking prayer requests and dismissing for the evening. 

Next week, I'll be out of town with Tim up in Sumner, Maine with our contacts in the community to do some planning and preparing for the summer mission trip.

Tucker Kindig will be running youth group! 

In two weeks, we'll return to answer some really good questions about the structure, authority and trustworthiness of the Bible. 

Until then...




Hope Friends & Family,

It's hard to believe that nearly a year ago I was hired as Director of Youth Ministry at Hope! 

As you can see from the collage above, I could probably write a short book about all I've learned and all that we've done in the past year in the youth ministry. We've formed friendships, played a lot of Shifty-Shorty and Scatter Ball, gotten Bigger & Better, survived Mall Madness, explored Makemie Woods, stayed up late eating snacks at Ligonier, gone swimming and cliff diving in Maine and hopefully, grown closer to Jesus and one another. 

I hope starting this blog will be helpful to you guys- teenagers, parents and volunteers alike. 

Why? Because at the end of the day we are a family and we need each other.

Here's what I hope you can expect from this blog:

1) A Conversation. I want everyone to know what we're doing in youth group and why we're doing it. The end goal is pretty simple- to become more like Jesus by loving God and loving other people. How we do this is the challenge. Let's have an honest conversation about it.

2) News & Notes.  I'll recap what we've been doing in youth group on Sunday nights at large group and Wednesday evenings during classes. I'll post the periodic reminder about what's coming up and why I think you should be a part of what we're doing as a youth group. I'll address the implications of current events on our Christian lives.

3) My Reflections. Whether it's reflections from my own personal Bible study, great books and articles that I'm reading about our Christian lives or something more practical like youth culture news, I want to share what I'm learning because I see the value in us growing more like Jesus together. 

4) Q&A. Our "Bucket-O-Questions" youth groups are always a hit for youth and leaders alike! I'll start answering some of these questions here because I think it's essential that we continue these conversations at home. After all, these are questions asked by you! What could be more relevant? 

5). A Partnership. At the end of the day, I really want to partner with everyone at Hope. Whether you're a teen trying to figure out who God is or a parent trying to figure out how to better disciple your teen, we're all in this together. We are the Body of Christ and we each have an integral part to play in bringing glory to God by making His name great! 

With this partnership in mind, I want you to know that I'm available to talk any time about pretty much anything. God calls us to be in community with one another. I can think or nothing better than making some time to grab coffee and share life together. You can reach me on my cell phone at 703-589-7168, email me at or find me on social media. 

I'll close by echoing the words of the Apostle Paul which apply just as much to us today here at Hope as they did nearly 2,000 years ago: 

"For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen." -Ephesians 3:14-21 

In Christ,