Friday, September 23, 2016

2 Hours

            There is a youth speaker and so-called teen expert by the name of Josh Shipp who has made a career out of studying teens, knowing their culture, and advocating for them. He is brilliant and has helped a great number of adults and teens to navigate the tricky years of adolescence with his main point being a simple but profound truth: every kid is one caring adult away from being a success story. This truth has shaped the way I look at ministry and, in particular, the need for mentoring with teens.
            Over the past year, mentoring students in a 1-on-1 setting outside of Wednesday night youth group has become a big part of ministry for me.  The mentorships have only taken a couple of hours per week per student but this time has made a big impact for some of them. They need a consistent commitment from an adult to give them time in both the peaks and the valleys of life. This is how trust is built. Week in, week out, a couple of hours to talk about anything and everything. The reason is that kids spell “trust” T-I-M-E. Time is a strong communicator to teenagers that you care about them and, honestly, it takes a certain amount of time before they even feel comfortable sharing with you (this can be true for many adults as well). It also helps to join them in the things they are already doing. This brings about one of the best parts of mentoring teens; the meetings happen at Taco Bells, parks, in front of TVs, throwing a football, or wherever else they feel comfortable. Most of the time, sitting in an office or around several other adults isn’t going to be a setting where they feel comfortable and it can keep them from sharing. Being willing to do mentoring where they want to be and doing what they want to do rather than trying to force them into my office has been a major contributor to building trust and going deep.
I didn't fully realize how big of an impact just two hours per week of 1-on-1 conversation with a student could make. The biggest encouragement to me has been one particular student who had a major turnaround in his life. He went from struggling in school and having no passion in life to being a Jesus-loving honor roll student (he even won an award at his school called the Turnaround Award). While I believe there were many factors that attributed to this student's turnaround, I believe a major contributing factor were our weekly mentorship sessions where we discussed what it means to authentically follow Jesus, friendships, influence, family, decisions, etc. God used the time we spent together for bigger and better things than I ever could have imagined.
God has shown me just how powerful He is and what He can do during this time with students. It became my goal to mentor at least 2 students a year and God honored that, and then He doubled it. I have spent consistent time mentoring 4 different students this year and each of them are seeming to make strides in their relationship with Jesus and their parents.  I have even started mentoring a few young adults, and it has been encouraging to learn and grow and see what God can do with just a few hours each week.
If I could change one thing about Josh Shipp’s statement, it’s that I think it’s too specific. I think this truth applies to a wider number of people than just teens. I believe that all people are one caring person away from being a success. We all need somebody who is walking with us in life through its ups and downs. So whether you feel called to mentor kids, teens, or adults it is time to give two hours per week to somebody and see what God does with it.
Patrick Frost
Middle School Youth Pastor

Friday, September 16, 2016

Wandering/Habits


I was part of the security team for the 2016 Salem First Baptist “Church in the Park”. One of the tasks of the security team is to ensure the safety and security of all those in attendance. We also have the opportunity to interact with people just “wandering by”. Quite often they ask, “What is going on?” We tell them and invite them to join us.
One opportunity I had was to talk with a lady who was walking by and she decided to stay. I continued to wander around during the service and at the end of the service I went back to the lady and ensured her that we would love for her to stay for the picnic. She said that she needed to get home to her child. She continued by saying that this was exactly what she needed. At that point she began to cry. She said that there was a lot going on in her life and she really needed this. I gave her a hug and she just held on and cried. She thanked me for the hug and I asked if there was anything I could do for her. She said that she has never been to our church but that she will come. I am praying for her and I'm praying that she will come to church. Only the Lord knows if she will or when she will. After all, the Lord brought her to the service for a reason. Please pray for her that she will follow through by coming to church. Please also pray for the many others who wandered by and had opportunity to hear the music and the preaching of God’s Word.
--Tracy Camillo




Habits are hard to make or hard to break.
They say that it takes 21 days to make a habit.  I have found that it takes a lot longer than that.  I have done many things for 21 days and then almost without notice I have stopped.  For years I memorized scripture and then it began to slip away.  I used to bike about 2000 miles a year and then my schedule got a little busier.  Habits are hard to make--stick. 
But some habits are hard to break.  For those of you who have smoked you would say a hearty amen.  Or if you have a habit of going back to the refrigerator two or three times a night it is hard to stop those behaviors.  Some habits are hard to break.
But habits are crucial because they are repetitious behaviors and over time they make a significant imprint on your life.  My prayer for you this year is that you will make connection a habit.  Stay connected to God in prayer and reading his word, stay connected to people by joining a Bible study or community group.  Stay connected with friends by scheduling regular lunch or walks together.  Stay connected, because connection gives you life. 
Praying for you,
Pastor Mark

Good Book to Read
Chase the Lion--Pastor and author Mark Batterson is a good read.  One of his first books In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day, was fantastic. He has recently released Chase the Lion.  They read quick, but they last long. 
7 Men by Eric Metaxas--Brothers this book will inspire you to a greater life. 
I know they say men don't read, but they also say Jonah really didn't live in a whale for three days--#two wrongs don't make it right

Friday, September 9, 2016

Holy Spirit POWER

I John 2:6 tells us “the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as Jesus walked.” What does that look like in our culture today? As Christ followers what does it look like within our church?
Here's what it might look like: One of our church members had been wanting to visit a neighbor for over a year, but had not connected. His desire was to go from a waving neighbor to actually meeting the neighbor and hearing his story. One day this church member was walking past the neighbor’s house praying and depending on the Holy Spirit to lead him that day. Lo and behold the neighbor pulled into their driveway right in front of him. A quick thank-you prayer and a give-me-courage prayer was said. He was praying for the right words as the neighbor got out of the car.  With only a few questions, he found out where the neighbor was from, what they did for a living, what were some of his pains and what brought joy to his life. Our church member was invited back for more conversations. I believe this happened because he was depending on the Holy Spirit’s leading and prayer.  Jesus modeled for us how to depend on the Holy Spirit for direction.
Another illustration of walking as Jesus walked was another one of our members from our church whom I will call Bob. Bob has been praying for his friend who did not know Christ. Actually his friend leaned toward an atheistic philosophy. Bob had his friend over for dinner. Bob prayed for courage, wisdom and the power to listen carefully and to ask questions intentionally. Bob listened carefully and did not debate with his friend. He was able to share the good news of Jesus Christ and has an open invitation for more conversations. The friend is open to reading the Scriptures together. Jesus modeled for us how to pray so we could walk as He walked.  
We had a 6-week class this summer called Walking as Jesus Walked. It was an overview of what Jesus modeled for us as He walked on the earth. He modeled the following to help enable us to walk as Jesus walked:
Prayer--Jesus depended on prayerful guidance.
Obedience—Jesus obeyed with perfect obedience.
Word—Jesus obeyed God’s Word in every area.
Exalted—Jesus exalted His Father in everything.
Relationships—Jesus was intentional about developing relationships.
Holy Spirit Power is how Jesus lived His life, so can we. This is an exciting adventure, as others in our class can testify.
--Pastor Leon