November Journal Entry

Hey, it has been a while since I have posted an actual journal update for my ministry: SORRY.... Let me first say in the spirit of the season, that I am very thankful for my ministry, church and friends. God has really blessed me with so much and I can't give thanks enough for that.
This month or so has been quite busy. Kari has been very sick lately but another praise is that the doctors finally found out what was wrong with her and she has been getting better every day. The youth ministry has been doing great. We have had a bunch of new faces become regulars on Wednesday nights, making for fun times and great discussions. We just finished with Extravaganza Athletics last week which was a blast. I had two girls compete in table tennis and they had a Williams sisters moment when they had to play each other late in the tournament. The loser walks and the winner heads straight to the championship match. This was tough to see twins compete against each other because no matter what someone was going to get their feelings hurt. They both got medals which I get to give them next Sunday in front of the church however.
Running an extravaganza event was much tougher than I thought it would be. It was a lot like running a TNT event except there was almost no possible way to prepare for the amount of walk ups. We ended up having something like 260 kids compete which was amazingly high for just the sports activities.
This week I have been trying to finish up some stuff to clear my plate for this Lock-In in December. This month we had a teen fundraiser dinner, where I got a guy named Evan to come and lead worship and Chelli came and spoke to our church while Cathy served them some great chili made by different members of the church. That was a great night that helped us raise enough money to send our students to extravaganza and also will help us pay for the Nearly New Years Lock-In and the Ski Trip coming up in February. Earlier that week we took the whole youth group to the nursing home in Franklin and had the Jesus Freaks perform worship as well as some hymns by the entire youth group. I preached and we spent some time with the people at the nursing home. This was step one of our Unbroken Series that I have been preaching every Wednesday night this month. This last week we took our Wednesday night and devoted it to creating Christmas boxes for operation Christmas Child. This is my favorite thing to do each year because I get to watch young people who care about others so much they are willing to provide children they have never even met with a box full of Christmas gifts. This was a wonderful experience. We ended up donating 70 boxes as a church last Sunday.
This week I met with the Best Buy Business guy my brother sent out to the church to update our technology in the sanctuary. I am hoping that we can get everything that the pastor is asking for in our budget. Later today I am meeting with Jason for lunch as we discuss the Lock-In and other stuff. I am pretty excited about this Lock-In because for the past 5 years or so I have always been a big part of working it. This year I get to host it at my new church which has its ups and its downs. I think my stress level will be through the roof that night, but I have already started to do everything I can to prepare for that night. Today I reserved our vans for transportation, and last week I bought 3,000 glow sticks for the glow Party portion of the Lock-In. I have been talking with various youth pastors around the state and right now we have about 17 churches committed to coming that night. I am still nervous about the numbers, because it is a big risk if nobody comes financially and it is tough if way to many people come as well. Last year we had about 350 teens, which was a little more than we anticipated. This year we have done everything we can to prepare for a number like that again by providing a larger venue and also many more activities throughout the night. Next week I get to start building the games and stuff like volleysquare for the event, which is always fun. I am super excited about all the great events going on with this youth ministry but Honestly I am just happy to have a group that is finally starting to show a real understanding of what it means to be Christians. They are all about helping others right now. Yes we are going bowling and have a Christmas party coming up in the next few weeks, but Our kids just seem to want to do the other stuff just as much like go to the nursing home or pack those Christmas boxes. I am hoping to find some other way as I close our Unbroken series, for our students to have a chance to serve and make a difference. It is exciting being a youth pastor. I am so Thankful!   Happy Thanksgiving! Until Next Time - Just Jon


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