May 21, 2009

Proud of My School

Filed under: Uncategorized — Neil @ 7:40 pm

My school is doing a great job of taking the Gospel to prisons.  They are doing so by making it possible for inmates to take seminary courses & to graduate w/ a ministerial degree.  Click here to read the article.

Here’s a sample of the article:

In front of an audience of proud friends and relatives, 28 Parchman inmates received degrees in Christian ministry from the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary as part of a faith-based program begun in 2004. Despite their rocky road to the ministry, seminary President Charles Kelley told the graduates they are exactly what God had in mind.

“God works through the weak, the broken and the defeated,” he said. “When God does something through them, everybody knows it is God doing it.”

Summer Calendar

Filed under: Pictures,Summer,Youth Ministry — Neil @ 8:35 am

For the past 6 weeks we’ve (Mike & I) have been trying to play catch up on the summer calendar.  Typically, we’ll have it finished by the early part of the Spring.  However, w/ both of us being new we are just now finished w/ it.  For a pdf file of the calendar click here.

Summer 2009 Calendar

Summer 2009 Calendar page 2

May 19, 2009


Filed under: Uncategorized — Neil @ 8:01 pm

This afternoon  I spent a couple of hours weatherproofing our front porch & the shutters on the front of our home.  According to the manufacturer this stuff will protect against water, mildew & sun damage for 3 years.  As I was applying it I began thinking of my talk for tomorrow night.  My topic is how to protect & nourish our souls.  A few things came to mind of how I can take care of my soul:

  • Bible Study
  • Prayer
  • Journaling
  • Christian friendships
  • Singing praises to God
  • Listening to biblical preaching

Proverbs 4:23
23 Above all else, guard your heart,
for it is the wellspring of life.

Philippians 4:6-9
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. 8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. 9 Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.

May 16, 2009

Graduation Pictures

Filed under: Family,Personal,Pictures — Neil @ 9:11 pm

Today, I received my masters degree from NOBTS.  Here’s the photographic evidence:

On Friday I had to have a picture taken for the NOBTS publicity office.  They wanted me to look pastoral & didn’t think my jeans & polo were the right look.  So, they gave me a “suit” for the picture.  Amanda managed to get a couple of unofficial portraits of me as well.


Friday afternoon we had graduation rehearsal for 1.5 hours.  We spent the majority of the time being lined up properly & learning how to walk.  I gave my full attention & listened to every word that was said.


My family had balcony seats for the graduation service.  They really enjoyed staring into the projector’s light (it was lighting the “confidence screen” on the back wall).


Thanks to the projector this is the picture of me walking across the stage & receiving my diploma (the $30 for the professional photographer’s attempt at the scene may have been a good deal after all).


Family pictures


Food Pictures

Filed under: Pictures — Neil @ 8:54 pm

We enjoy visiting New Orleans.  Our trips there are for the food.  Anything else is extra.  Here’s what I ate:

Breakfast Friday: cafe au lait

Lunch Friday @ Bravos: we split a chicken pizza & Bravo’s pasta

Supper Friday @ Galley’s: boiled shrimp, red beans & rice w/ andouille sausage, & catfish


Friday Late Night Snack: Cafe au lait & begneits


Breakfast Saturday: pecan waffles & bacon


Saturday lunch: Shrimp Poboy & fries @ II Tony’s


Saturday afternoon: cafe au lait & begneits


May 14, 2009

Summer Camp Site Visit

Filed under: Summer,Youth Ministry — Neil @ 10:25 pm

Mike & I made a really quick visit to Panama City Beach, Fl to check out the site for Wired (summer camp). The location was set before either of us started @ FBCJ so we had a few questions & wanted to see it for ourselelves before bringing 200+ teenagers & adults this summer.  Online registration for Wired is now available.

  • We left Jackson following Wednesday’s youth worship service for the 300 mile trip Panama City Beach.
  • Ate a very slooow fast food meal @ Wendy’s in Hattiesburg.
  • Arrived in Panama City a few minutes before 2:00 a.m.
  • Our camp will be held at the Marriott Bay Point Resort.  Nice place.  Really nice place to take teenagers for summer camp.
  • Overall, we were very impressed w/ everything.
  • Negatives: no kitchens in condos, not on the beach, rain could cause a big problem in getting everyone from the condos to the meeting space, wireless access is a bit of a pain (it’s critical for a few of our ideas to work) & cell phone service was terrible in the buildings
  • Positives: beautuiful facility, great meeting & eating space, lots of great pools, a free boat shuttle that picks us up @ the hotel to transport us across the bay to a secluded island/beach, lots of free time options, several restaurants (we tried out Kingfish), being off the beach = greater safety, and our group’s condos will be somewhat isolated from the other guests
  • Took lots of pictures & video for a few commercials to advertise the event.
  • Made a trip down memory lane on the way out driving along the beach in Panama City.  We saw Laguna Beach Christian Resort.  Mike & I have both taken groups there.  It was the home of my 1st youth group experience as a soon to be 7th grader.
  • We met Amanda for supper here in the Hub City.
  • Amanda & I arrived in New Orleans tonight for my seminary graduation.
  • We traveled 600+ miles, slept for about 7 hours, toured the resort, made a trip to see a few critical places (beach & grocery stores) all in about 24 hours.  Definetly not a relaxing trip, but very crucial to the success of summer camp.
  • Matt the Intern is keeping Roscoe company.  Thankfully, Roscoe remebered him from the past 2 summers & didn’t attack him.


Filed under: Personal — Neil @ 7:15 am

Tomorrow, I’ll finally graduate w/ a M.A. in Christian Education from NOBTS.  It’s been a looong process.

Seminary was to begin for me immediately after graduation from M.C. in ’01.  I made a visit to this place & thought for sure I’d go there & graduate in the Spring of ’03.  However, I met Amanda in the Fall of ’00 & those plans changed.

I graduated from M.C. in ’01 as planned, but decided to stay in Clinton to continue to serve (as perhaps hopefully!? the only minister to youth & senior adults) at Beulah Memorial Baptist in Brownsville, MS.  Amanda & I became engaged in November & married the next June.

She graduated from M.C. in ’04.  We moved to New Orleans for me to begin my seminary work.  We would be finished by the Spring of ’06 & looking for a church to serve.  All was going according to plan until Katrina.

We moved back to Clinton.  I found a job here.  While Amanda began teaching here.  I continued as a full time student that school year (thankfully, NOBTS let those hours count as “on campus hours” due to Katrina displacing everyone).

In the Spring of ’06 I began serving @ Parkway.  I continued taking online classes & needed just a few hours to graduate.  I should graduate within a year if all went right.

Of course it didn’t.  Not a single class that I needed was offered during the entire ’07-’08 school year was offered through the online classes or the NOBTS extension center @ M.C. Graduation delayed again.

This past Fall I took 1 class @ the extension center on M.C.’s campus another this Spring.  Tomorrow I will finally receive my degree.  It’s been a long process.

I’ve learned quite a bit through my seminary classes & proffessors, but nearly as much as I’ve learned just going through the process.

May 13, 2009

Key to Creativity #3

Filed under: Uncategorized — Neil @ 6:45 am

The 3rd key to creativity is research.

Research & creativity seem to be opposites, but for me it’s a vital part of the process.

Creative research for me is things like reading blogs & books, attending conferences, watching services from other churches, seeing pictures of stage sets or graphic art done for concerts/plays/other churches.

Seeing creativity often sparks my own creative idea.  I remember a few years ago a blogger (I can’t remember who) posted a huge zip file of pictures from worship environments @ other churches all across the country.  While I couldn’t pull of many of the things that NewSpring, Willow, Granger or Fellowship could, it sparked ideas in me that I could make happen.

A few places that I recommend to help getting your creative juices flowing:

May 12, 2009

Keys to Creativity #2

Filed under: Youth Ministry — Neil @ 6:45 am

The 2nd key to creativity is getting outside input.

I can remember when I first started in ministry that I didn’t want anyone to help me w/ anything.  I wanted to prove what a good youth minister I was by doing everything myself.  Very foolish, but I sincerely believed that was the best way.

I’ve come a long way, but I still have those tendencies & I’m learning a ton everyday from Mike about building a team & including others in the process.

I’ve used youth committees, online polls, posting questions as my facebook status, student leadership teams, twitter, & email/phone calls to solicit input.  At some point teams/committees can be too big for their own good, but in the planning process (especially early in the process) getting input from a variety of sources is extremely helpful.

In planning out our youth worship services for the ’09-’10 school year I’ve done an online poll, questioned teens & parents about ideas, asked other youth ministers, looked at curriculums from publishers & visited a few other church’s websites to see what they are doing.  I’m combining all of that w/ Bible study series that I’ve been developing over the past year.

Sometime in the next week or so I’ll submit my rough outline for next year’s worship services to Mike & we’ll go from there working together to develop the teaching calendar.

Getting ideas from a variety of people & working way ahead of schedule allows for creativity to develop.

May 11, 2009

Tripp & John

Filed under: Videos — Neil @ 8:34 pm

Here’s a hilarious parody interview of John Maxwell by Tripp Crosby.

I discovered it on Ben’s blog.

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