Sunday Funday

As the youth leader I often struggle with ideological practice of having everything we do relate back to a religious idea or practice. I will ask myself, “Does this further the Kingdom of God?” Most often the answer is a resounding YES! But as I strolled through the Wal-Mart aisles picking up dish soap, a few buckets, and tarp – I couldn’t help but think that the 45-foot-super-awesome-slip-and-slide might just be for our own enjoyment.

Ultimately, we could have connected our journey downhill to the concepts of hope, courage, and God’s divine protection. Like – I hope I don’t break my leg, or I will take courage and get a running start, or “Oh Mercy!” this is super fast (Jesus, take the wheeeeeeel ♫)! We could have also used it as an invitation tool to help facilitate other youth joining our group – which we tried! There were a few neighborhood children that came over to see what we doing but I think they were too overwhelmed at all of the awesomeness that was taking place and really only came over to get a closer look. A small number of my other neighbors also came outside to openly view our craziness, but most stayed indoors away from all of our giggling and screaming – I imagine they were all peeking out of their windows like Jimmy Stewart’s character L.B. “Jeff” Jeffries in the movie Rear Window, waiting for one of us to slip up (pun intended).

It wasn’t all fun games though… well… yes it was. There was pizza, water balloons, water slingshots (although they didn’t work too well), card games, some sidewalk art, and of course the biggest slip-and-slide in Charlottesville (at least for today), and after all was said and done there were only a few grass scratches and bumped knees – but as I explained to the kids, that’s how you know you had fun! And honestly, that’s really what it was all about – having fun. And you know what else? Having fun is great. I highly recommend it. In fact, I’m fairly sure 9 out of 10 doctors recommend having fun on a daily basis.

Now, if only we could find some biblical basis for all the fun we had…

(insert dramatic pause)

Boom. King Solomon comes through.

Yes, according to rabbinic tradition, the book Ecclesiastes was written by Solomon in his old age and I quote:

Ecclesiastes 8:15: So I recommend having fun, because there is nothing better for people in this world than to eat, drink, and enjoy life. That way they will experience some happiness along with all the hard work God gives them under the sun. (NLT)

There it is.

“Have fun.”

So much of what our youth have to look forward is not always going to be fun – being an adult is hard. You can ask one, I’m sure they’ll tell you all about it! Jobs, money, bills, work, etc. Think about the first things that adults talk about when they see each other! They are very rarely in the market for having some fun. There’s a great quote from the children’s book The Little Prince written by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry that illustrates the adult conundrum:

“Grown-ups love figures. When you tell them that you have made a new friend, they never ask you any questions about essential matters. They never say to you, “What does his voice sound like? What games does he love best? Does he collect butterflies?” Instead, they demand: “How old is he? How many brothers has he? How much does he weigh? How much money does his father make?” Only from these figures do they think they have learned anything about him.

If you were to say to the grown-ups: “I saw a beautiful house made of rosy brick, with geraniums in the windows and doves on the roof,” they would not be able to get an idea of that house at all. You have to say to them: “I saw a house that cost $400,000.” Then they would exclaim: “Oh, what a pretty house that is!”

Now, I’m only 30 years old – but this already hits home with me and speaks to how I sometimes view the world.

Thankfully, I have a job – well, 2 jobs actually – that keep me young. I am regularly reminded of the necessity to not take things too seriously or get too upset about the adult method of doing things and I am so very thankful that in this moment, on this day – we can fly down the hill and roll over backwards with laughter. Thankful that we are able to create memories that will bring a smile to our face when we’re feeling down and when we’re working hard – because, ultimately, God does want us to work hard. I dare say he needs us to work hard – we are told that the mountain is steep and the path is narrow.

So for now, while we can, let’s have some fun.

Funday 1 Funday 2

Funday 3

 

Ceiling Tiles

Tonight we started a new tradition. I gave each youth permission to take one of the ceiling tiles in the youth room and personalize it with their names and a bible verse. The bible verse could be one that applies to their lives right now, one that they hope will apply in the future, or it could be a “birth verse.” A birth verse is kind of a kitschy idea but the premise involves aligning your birthday with a chapter and verse from a book in the bible. For example, my birthday is September 1st, so I was looking at the first verse of a ninth chapter (9:1). I settled on Romans 9:1 – I speak the truth in Christ – I am not lying, my conscience confirms it through the Holy Spirit. I really identified with this one as it touches on my role as the Youth Coordinator and how I approach my relationships with all of the kids. It’s also a lot better than Nehemiah 9:1 which reads- On the twenty-fourth day of the same month, the Israelites gathered together, fasting and wearing sackcloth and putting dust on their heads.

Now, I recognize that there may be a few critics of the youth personalizing anything in the church, but I assure you this was not an unseemly undertaking. You see, over the last year and a half I have often heard Michael preach or talk about the history of our church. I have repeatedly heard the story of how the bank moved in and our congregation had to ban together to raise the money to purchase the church. I heard about the decision to stay and be UNIVERSITY Baptist Church and how the congregation felt there was a purpose and calling to be located so close to the campus (grounds). Today, I heard Michael preach on the importance of the cornerstone and it reminded me of the connection that so many in our congregation have to this building. They are invested in it (literally). They have a history here. Their children were born into this church community and have been nurtured to adulthood only to then have their own children now become a part of the congregation. The walls and pillars are richly coated with the memories of the saints that have gone before us and many in the church experience the same comfort and solace that we would expect to find in our own homes.

So, what does this have to do with the youth taking the ceiling apart….? Simply this: The youth are making their own memories. The way I see it is – there’s no great crisis or concern that will underlie or define their church experience (hopefully). They will grow up, go to college, and possibly move away to accomplish great and wonderful things. We hope that they will remember their time at UBC with fondness but in reality they may not have the same connection to this church that some our members have had in the past, or still have today! The world is getting smaller and we can no longer expect our youth to always come back and pick out a permanent pew for the rest of their lives. In fact, if we look at our current membership – we can already identify this gap forming.

By allowing our youth to personalize the ceiling tiles, we are helping them become invested in this building. They get to say, “Look. That’s me.” When they set off into the world, there will always be a piece of them that will remain here. There will always be a marker of their time, and a tangible connection to this part of their lives that will forever connect them to this place, and by extension, to the people that are here. I want the Emily Morrises, John Browns, Audrey Millers, and Thea Cheuks to all bring their own children back to that 3rd floor and show them their tiles. I want them to be able to tell their children about what they did, and who they knew, and how God was with them through all of it! I want people to visit our church and see that we have a living history – one that’s not only retold around the tables on a Wednesday night, but one that is actively happening. I want new families to come in and see that ceiling, and know that their child will get a tile, that their child will make memories here, that their child will know a faith community, and their child will forever be connected to the family and house of God!

This is their cornerstone. This is a way for them to identify and recognize that they are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, and God’s special possession.

I would like to encourage everyone to visit the 3rd floor when we’re done. If you’ve ever been a member of the UBC youth, then there’s a tile for you. Even if you weren’t in the youth group – if you have found family here at UBC, or if you want to create a memory – then there’s a tile for you too. Come see what God is doing and come see how his word is speaking to the hearts and minds of our youth.

In Christ,

Phil

The Youth’s March Mission Madness Trip

Every spring the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Virginia sponsors about 4 different mission weekends at locations all over the state. This year, our youth attended the one located in Blacksburg, VA.

FRIDAY:

When we arrived on Friday evening we were greeted with the castle-like campus of Virginia Tech, which prompted many UVA inspired comments and discussions from the youth about what we would all be wearing tomorrow (i.e. a Cavalier shirt or something else that was specifically blue and orange instead of maroon and orange)! We made our way up the street to Blacksburg Baptist Church which sits directly across from the Tech campus in a very much the same way our own church sits in relation to the UVA campus.  We stepped out of our cars and stretched before being welcomed and herded down into their fellowship hall to an outstanding dinner of burgers and hotdogs. Everyone from our group was really just excited to see that we wouldn’t be eating pizza and we quickly devoured our meals. The evening then moved into a time of worship and we gathered in the sanctuary for prayer and song. We were also excited to meet our work team members and get into our work groups for the next day.

SATURDAY:

Once our rooms at the Super 8 motel were sorted out, we all pretty much went to sleep, but since the first night in a hotel is always the roughest there were a few that ventured out early in the morning to track down a Starbucks. We traveled back to Blacksburg Baptist and heard a very moving story from Mark Snipes that provided some perspective for the day. One of the big take-aways from his sermon was that “it’s not about reaching down to help someone up to where you are, but recognizing that we are all equal in the eyes of God and it’s about meeting people where they are to be Christ to them when and where they need it.”

Our Youth were split up into 6 different groups and sent out to worksites all around the great Blacksburg and Christiansburg area. For most of the day our youth worked on the following projects:

  • Wheelchair Ramp/Platform – An elderly woman had been “trapped” in her home for about 2 years and had no means to get outside her house without some serious assistance. She had paid someone else to build her a ramp about a year ago and while they delivered some materials to her yard, they never even started on the construction. Working alongside a “Hearts & Hammers” program we built a ramp from her side door down into her yard. Another group worked to dig out a reasonably sized hole so that a concrete pad could be poured that would allow another woman to easily access transportation at her home. They also did a large amount of cleaning and yard work.
  • Retreat Center / Households – There is always much work to be done when any outdoor area is opened again in the spring, and our youth worked to paint and clean up a retreat center for the local community to use. There are also many people that need some assistance with painting, yard work, organizing, or general cleaning tasks around their homes and our youth were there to help them as well.
  • Pregnancy Center – We sent a group to a Pregnancy counseling center where they did a lot of cleaning and organizing. They also helped in stuffing envelopes and assisting with the mailing of information and materials that will hopefully be helpful to women who are struggling with difficult decisions.

Our Saturday concluded with a very filling pasta dinner and another worship service. Once back at the hotel we all debriefed and shared our experiences from the day and then most of us went to bed….   J

SUNDAY:

Sunday morning we rolled out to our final service at Blacksburg Baptist, worshiped with their 8:30 morning service members and made our way back home. A very successful trip for all involved!

It is only through the continuing support of the members at UBC that these types of opportunities can be offered to our youth. Not only are they growing and moving along their own spiritual path but they are also positively affecting the lives of all the people they interact with along the way. Thank you for your support of the youth ministry!

 

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Parent-Child Dedication Service

Parent-Child DedicationLast Sunday, we celebrated a Parent-Child dedication service, in which we dedicated eight babies/young children along with their families.  During the sermon, a video that was filmed and created by the parents was shown in which each parent said words of love and blessing to their children.

Below is the Prezi presentation showing the portraits of our young families and children, the video that our parents made for their children, and the video of Joseph Johnson’s parents expressing their love and blessing to Joseph upon this ordination as deacon at UBC.

(Click on the right arrow at the bottom of the Prezi presentation window to advance to the next element.)

Click on this link to view a YouTube of the worship service with clips from the parent-child dedication, the choir anthem and the sermon (which included the videos from the parents).

Youth Ministry Meeting for all Parents & Youth

There will be a brief meeting — 12:15 – 12:45 — Following the church service on January 12th. We’ll meet in the Choir Room on the 2nd floor to discuss a few things about 2014 and turn in/fill out updated Youth Activities Consent forms. The forms can be found at the bottom of the Youth’s Church Webpage if you wish to complete it ahead of time.

 

Children’s Church Schedule Winter 2013-14

This is the proposed children’s church schedule for leaders and helpers for the next three months. If the time you are scheduled doesn’t work please try to switch with someone. Please let me know if you have to switch  or can not get a substitute. So that the correct names will be in the Sunday bulletin and I can see that you have the right material. I suggest that the leader contact the helper for their Sunday to make sure that they remember.
 
                   Leader                         Helper
Dec. 1        No Children’s Church
Dec. 8        Jeannette May                       Seamore Zhu
Dec.15       Peachie Mays                        Caroline Wagoner
Dec. 22      Erin Brown                              Javaneh Brown
Dec. 29      No Children’s Church
 
Jan. 5        No Children’s Church             
Jan. 12      Katherine Hamel 9                 Seamore Zhu
Jan. 19      Debby Johnson 4                  Emily Morris
Jan. 26      Catherine Cooper                  Caroline Wagoner
 
 Feb. 2        Pam Dean                              Anna Dean
 Feb. 9        Cindy Bryant                          Katherine wagoner
 Feb. 16      Laura Morris                          Emily Morris
 Feb. 28      Beth Cheuk                           Javaneh Brown

I want to remind everyone that we are now using a walkie-talkie

In the children’s church room in case of an emergency. The ushers will put it in the room and turn it on. They will also return

it to the nursery. I would be a good idea to check with the ushers to be sure that it is in the room before you go up.

 

Youth Christmas Party

Sunday, December 15, 6-8 pm
Youth Christmas Party at the Woodson’s

For our gift exchange this year I would ask that we do a Dollar Store Christmas! This means that everyone is allowed to spend $1 and should bring the greatest thing they get for a buck!   Questions?  Contact Phil Woodson.

Youth Shopping Day

Saturday, December 14, 10 – 12:00 am

We will meet at Fashion Square Mall – Red Robin Entrance. This is time for the youth to do their own holiday shopping & we will also be shopping for our snowflake kids – so youth should bring funds for personal and charity purchases!   Questions?  Contact Phil Woodson.

A Quiet Place to Study

University Baptist Church opens its doors December 8-16 from 1:00 pm to 11:00 pm to all students, both undergraduate and graduate, as “A Quiet Place to Study.”

Hot and cold drinks and light snacks provided. Wireless and plug-in available. Classrooms available for group study. Rides back to dorms available after dark, upon request.

Volunteers are needed to host students in Fellowship Hall each day as they prepare for exams. If you can be there for a couple of hours or prepare snacks and goodies for the students, check the sign-up board or contact Alba Beasley.

Ongoing Activities in December

Please join us in any of these activities this month as we celebrate Advent and prepare for Christmas!

* Global Missions Post Office —
A way for you to exchange greetings with UBC members and support Global Missions; Located in First Floor Lobby

* WMU Christmas shopping —
UBC items on sale 1st Floor Lobby:  Cat’s Meow building, Christmas ornament, Plate, Cookbook

* Christmas Dinner in a Bag —
1 box stove-top stuffing mix
1 box instant potatoes
1 jar gravy
1 lg can sweet potatoes
1 lg can green beans
1 can cranberry sauce
1 box Jiffy pie crust mix
1 can pie filling
The WMU will add a Food Lion gift card for a ham or turkey.
Bring filled bags to the stage in the Fellowship Hall.

* A Quiet Place to Study (AQPTS) —
Need volunteers to help Dec. 8-16

* Children’s Christmas Shop —
Items due by December 8

* Intergenerational Mission Trip —
Registration due mid-December

* Shoe collection —
ends December 29

* Battle Building Update —
W. Main St. traffic lanes in front of the building reduced to one west-bound lane 6:00 am Fri., Dec. 6, through 12:00 pm Sun., Dec. 8; all access to JPA from 11th St Garage blocked, and plaza between Blake and UBC closed in December

* PACEM collection items —
foot powder, deodorant, disposable razors, new athletic socks (white, black or gray), word-find puzzle books, batteries (AA & AAA), stamps, envelopes, note pads, soft-side travel bags, adult-size backpacks

For more info about these activities and a complete Advent/Christmas schedule see THE WORD  Nov. 26.

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