August 12, 2008

Summer Review

Tomorrow night officially begins the Fall for our youth ministry.  So, I guess its time to do my summer review.

Super Hero Day – It was one of the most successful single night events that I’ve done at Parkway.  Attendance was much better than I anticipated.  Moving it inside this year was a good move.  Doing costumes this year really added to it.

Senior Trip – 1st time for us to do a senior trip & it was planned really late.  Although it was organized almost at the last minute it was still a lot of fun.  Its a safe & inexpensive way for our graduates to have a senior trip.  I’d like for this to become an annual event for our seniors.

H2O – Summer attendance was better than expected.  Using the Nooma videos for the high schoolers seemed to work & Matt did a good job leading the jr. high group.  It wouldn’t be possible without Parkway members allowing us to use their pool on a weekly basis.  My favorite thing about H2O is that it allows us a change of pace for the summer

CEF Mission Trip – The best mission trip I’ve ever led. it was an 8 day trip w/ 20 folks so of course we had a few issues but it was a great week.  The only downside was that CEF wouldn’t allow us to bring a bigger group.  I’d like to do it again, but it might be a trip more for a specific age group.

Student Life Camp – The best Student Life Camp I’ve led.  The only downside was that it was a day shorter than normal – although that also allowed some teens to attend who wouldn’t have otherwise.

LAUNCH – I enjoyed LAUNCH more than any other single big event/retreat that I’ve led at Parkway.  We had plenty of great adult volunteers, great location (we’ll be back at Twin Lakes), speaker & band were right on target for our theme.  I really liked Twin Lakes.  I’ve never done a retreat that close to home & it has many benefits (being able to set up the day of & then travel back home, teens being able to arrive late or leave early due to school/family conflicts, 30 minute bus ride, being able to be back at Parkway on Sunday morning).  I expect us to be back at Twin Lakes next year for LAUNCH

Overall – This was my 3rd summer at Parkway & the best by a wide margin.  I saw more spiritual growth among our group than in the previous summers.  Summers are exhausting.  They seem to last forever & at the same time to be over too quickly.  I feel like I do more actual youth ministry in the summer than any other time of the year.  Almost unbelievably the calendar for next summer is almost completely finished.

A few pictures from the summer:

August 10, 2008


Filed under: LAUNCH,Videos — Neil @ 10:24 pm

Highlight Video:

Saturday Morning Worship:

Life Jacket Instructions:

Abbey & Jaden:

Amanda & Taylor:

Neil – thoughts from early on Saturday morning:


Filed under: LAUNCH,Videos — Neil @ 3:46 pm

August 7, 2008

Ready for LAUNCH

Filed under: LAUNCH — Neil @ 8:41 pm

Tomorrow is LAUNCH.

I made the trip to Sam’s & Wal-Mart to purchase all of the needed supplies. I bought a lot of this, this, this & this plus much more.

I’ll be at Twin Lakes in the morning setting up everything. Chuck & Adam will arrive around 3 tomorrow. The teens arrive at Parkway at 5 packed & ready for LAUNCH.

We currently have 64 youth registered to attend. My goal was 60. Last year we surpassed 70, but as great of a place as Twin Lakes is it doesn’t compare to a weekend at the beach. So, 60 is a great achievement for our youth ministry.

I’ll be away from this blog until Sunday night or Monday morning. You can keep up w/ LAUNCH by reading the blog on its website. Pictures & video will also be added throughout the weekend at

August 6, 2008


Filed under: LAUNCH — Neil @ 1:15 pm

The blogging has begun at

Last night all of the adult leaders for the weekend met together to eat, discuss & primarily pray for the weekend. It was one of the best group prayer times I’ve ever been a part of. Each of the adults prayed specifically for each teen who has registered & others that we are praying will join us. We prayed that the Word would fall on good soil this weekend.

I talked w/ Chuck yesterday & Adam this morning. Both are ready & excited about being a part of LAUNCH.

I spent the morning at CJHS & Sumner Hill doing a video for next Wednesday & to invite more teens to join us at LAUNCH.

If you have a teen or know of a teen that has not signed up please have them fill out the registration card that is available on the “about” page of & bring their $100.00 by the church office. Email me if you have any questions.

August 4, 2008

Web Updates

Filed under: Decision 08,LAUNCH,Parkway — Neil @ 8:42 pm

I’ve just updated the LAUNCH website. There were a few broken links & couple of other problems that have been fixed. I also added the schedule & a list of the adult volunteers. Don’t forget that to check it early & often this weekend to keep up w/ LAUNCH.

I updated the Parkway site as well today. I added a few things to the Events page & to the youth front page. I also did a few behind the scene changes. However, I’m having a problem w/ uploading pdf files. Too bad they didn’t teach us how to use outdated & user-unfriendly software (GoLive) in seminary. is getting lots of traffic. I’ll enter the paper ballots that people turned in on Sunday morning into the poll hopefully tomorrow. I’m interested to see how the preferences of the paper ballots compare to the online votes.

July 31, 2008


Filed under: LAUNCH,Videos — Neil @ 11:45 am

LAUNCH is just 1 week away.  I spent the morning yesterday at CHS’ registration asking students where they want to be the weekend of August 8-10.  Here’s what they said:

June 27, 2008

This & That

Filed under: LAUNCH,Parkway,Personal,Wednesday Nights,Youth Ministry — Neil @ 5:47 pm

This week & most of July will be spent planning.  June was all about action, July will be preparing to act.  Here’s what this week looked like:

  • Completed the youth Bible study series for the fall.  Here’s the overview: Quest – seeking God & Him seeking us, Old School – old school values, Decision 08 – a series that Ken & I will be doing simultaneously on life’s big decisions, and Pocket Change – stewardship.
  • Sara is working on all of the logos & graphic arts for each series & a youth mom is already busy coming up w/ ideas of how to decorate the set for each series.
  • Today I ate lunch here w/ an old friend that I met here when we were in the 3rd grade, but it was located here back then.  We also roomed together for 2 years at M.C.
  • Lots of preparation for LAUNCH.  Wrote a letter that will be mailed next week, began creating the registration form, mapped out the small groups & their leaders, worked on the schedule, emailed w/ Twin Lakes & Chuck Hooten about the tech specs of the worship facility
  • Matt & I had frappacinos here today (I did avoid a repeat of this).  We reviewed the 1st half of the summer & looked forward to the 2nd half.  Parent’s, don’t be surprised if he contacts your teen about hanging out w/ him during July.
  • Ordered a big stack of books.  I took June off from reading anything in addition to the Bible, but today I began reading Blue Like Jazz.  This is my new reading list that I ordered from Amazon today: unChristian, Pop Goes the Church, What Got You Here Won’t Get You There, Crazy Love (Matt & I will be reading this together ), The Dip, and Meatball Sundae

June 22, 2008

Sunday Reflections

  • It was good to be back in youth Sunday School after being out for all but one of the past 4 Sundays.
  • Good youth crowd despite it being summer.
  • I thought the Student Life Report in the evening worship service went well (despite me forgetting to plug in the audio cable for the computer so we’d have sound for the slideshow).  The 4 teens that shared their story from camp all did a great job.  I think its really important that we don’t just minister to teens, but allow them to minister to the church as well.
  • Every slideshow & video I do is a reminder of how grateful I am for the Macs the church has purchased for me to use.  Macs make such work a breeze.  Having the right tools is so key.
  • I’ll post the video I played in the evening worship sometime tomorrow.
  • I plugged THIS probably 2 dozen times in conversations today.  I even did so w/ a very nice sr. adult lady this morning in the hallway.  I think she thought I was joking about participating, but I really do wish she & many others would join us. So, if you are reading this & want to be involved please email me.   July 13 is when we’ll begin registration.
  • Tonight we had some friends over for supper after the evening worship service.  Here’s the evidence:

  • My Sermon Notes from today’s 11:00 a.m. service:

Joshua 3:1-13

1. Command of God – He speaks & then the people move. If you before He
speaks it is a disaster.
1. Definite – when God speaks it is definite.
2.  Directional
If we can accomplish what we want accomplish ourselves than we
don’t need God.
3. Divine
2. Conviction of the People
1. Situation
Joshua 3:15 – the timing wasn’t
perfect or the perfect place
2.  Sanctification – we need to listen to God to see what He
wants us to do.
3.  Consumation of the Event
1. Happened as prophesied
2. Still had to fight for the land; God had won the war but still
had to fight; same as us with our struggle with sin

May 21, 2008


Filed under: LAUNCH — Neil @ 9:30 am

launch logo


LAUNCH is just around the corner (Aug. 8-10). (Click here to read the letter that was mailed out yesterday.)  Matt, youth summer intern, & I made a trip yesterday to Twin Lakes to view all of the facilities we’ll be using. I was totally impressed w/ their facilities & staff. While LAUNCH won’t be on the beach this year, it should be a much smoother operation (plenty of beds, places to eat, worship space, etc.) Here’s a few pictures:

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