Monday, August 30, 2010

Casting Crown's Mark Hall Prays for Sullivan Central High School

Following the shooting at Sullivan Central High School and the heroic actions of Deputy Carolyn Gudger and others from the Sullivan County Sheriff's Office, Mike Riddles, afternoon host and production director at 88.3fm WCQR, had an opportunity to speak with Casting Crown's lead singer, Mark Hall. Mark offered a prayer. Mike then produced this piece with Casting Crown's latest song, "If We've Ever Needed You." How appropriate!

Many thanks to Mark for his compassionate heart and to Mike for his thoughtfulness and sacrifice to produce this very meaningful audio.

To God be the glory! Great things He has done!


Posted via email from Tiger's (Pre)Posterous Ponderings

Saturday, August 21, 2010

iSBC Student Ministries Launching New Mentoring Initiative

iSBC Student Ministries is looking for a few, good men...and women who want to impact the world one student at a time. If that rings your bell, read on.

In recent years, much research has gone into, and many books have been written on, the slow fade of student ministry. When the infamous study came out a few years ago that addressed the numbers of students who graduate from youth ministries across the nation and then decide to "graduate from church" as well, more than a few heads were turned. We have since learned that the statistics may not have been as bad as first thought, nevertheless, those of us who have been in the ministry a few years faced the fact that we could be contributing to a fragmented church body. The senior adults do their thing, the children do their thing and the youth do their thing. In some circles, the students never have an opportunity to worship with the rest of the local church body. Examination and reflection was in order.

For the last 18-24 months, I have prayerfully considered some strategies and models already in place in other churches, taking into consideration the opportunities and obstacles that exist in our own church. After numerous conversations with my ministry assistants (past and present), as well as other adult mentors in our ministry, we have come up with what we pray is a strategy that will help us have a dramatic impact on our students and, by extension, our world. A mentoring initiative called:   3:two:1 Contact!

For our purposes, understand that I am equating mentoring with "disciple-making." Perhaps you recall Jesus COMMANDING us to be involved in making disciples. I have a deeply held conviction that parents are to be the primary spiritual mentors for their children. In practice, however, this is not always the case. Some parents unintentionally, or possibly intentionally, abdicate this role to the church "professionals." We want to turn this trend around. We want to come alongside parents (represented by the "two" in 3:two:1) with four other people who can assist in the mentoring process. This also includes support for the parents in terms of equipping with resources and skills to enhance the mentoring process.

The "1" would be one of our "seasoned citizens." We have a treasure trove of senior adults at ISBC who are willing and able to "adopt" one of our students and build a strong relationship with him or her. Drawing upon priceless life experiences, these seniors can pray for, write to, cook with, eat with, build with, love on and counsel with a student; offering things which neither mom and dad nor I could.

The remaining spots in our equation will be filled by three of the following: one or more of the student's Bible study leaders, the Minister to Students (yours truly) and/or an at-large adult member of ISBC.

Only time will tell, but I can imagine that four adults plus two parents pouring themselves into a student for 6+ years (I can see these relationships lasting far beyond graduation) will pay some astronomical dividends.

If you would like more information about this initiative, feel free to call me at my office 423-323-2187. If you would like to be involved with a church that is endeavoring to cultivate eternal relationships for the sake of the cause of Christ, I invite you to come visit us at Indian Springs Baptist Church.

Click here for more student information: iSBC Student Ministries on the web
Click here for the main ISBC site

Monday, August 2, 2010

I Love People Who "Get It"

Today was Ellie's first day of second grade. As with just about every kid, there is a little bit of trepidation leading up to the first day back. We complicated matters a little this year by being on vacation the week before and missing the "Meet The Teacher" day that was offered. Although we had a name, Ellie had no idea who her teacher was (and neither did we) so this amplified everyone's anxiety.

This morning we got up and took our traditional trip to Waffle House for First Day Breakfast and then we took Ellie to school. After waiting in a long line with kids and parents to enter the school (still unsure of why that was), we took a long walk to the hall on which Ellie's new classroom is located. There, standing outside the doorway, was Mrs. Harris.  She was greeting all the kids and parents as they arrived. When it came our turn here is the rough transcript of what was said:

Mrs. Harris: "And who might you be?"

Ellie: "Ellie Brooks"

Mrs. Harris (Bending down and putting arm around Ellie): "Oh Ellie! Mrs. Slaughter (first grade teacher) has told me so much about you. She said you were so smart and kind and attentive. I am really looking forward to having you in class this year."

Ellie (Beaming from ear to ear): "Thank you."

Ellie walked on in and didn't even give us a chance for the long goodbye hug. She had just received exactly what she needed. Paige (now tearing up) and I (handing hanky to Paige) then introduced ourselves to Mrs. Harris and she made sure one of us would be picking Ellie up this afternoon and indicated we could talk more then.

I don't share this in order to brag on Ellie, although I am not above that. I share this to demonstrate and give an example of someone who gets it.  I will be sensitive here by saying that Mrs. Harris is more mature then many of the new, young twenty-something teachers that seem to be dotting the landscape of the educational system more and more. (That is a blog in and of itself--- all my teachers were older, weren't yours???) It would appear that she has been there and done that if you know what I mean. I know nothing about Mrs. Harris and have never met her before, but after this morning I know that she gets it.

It is vitally important for all of us, no matter what profession or vocation we are involved with, to understand our role. We must realize and discover how to perform to the highest levels and how to strive to meet and even exceed the expectations that we have for ourselves, as well as, the expectations others have for us. I think one of the highest compliments that we can receive from others is, "He (or she) gets it."

Do you get it?