Canada Baptisms

This summer I had the opportunity to do a youth ministry internship at Church of the Open Door in York, PA. You can read more about my summer by going to the “Youth Internship in PA” category here on my blog and see all the posts I wrote this summer. During my time there, I was able to help lead a trip to Canada. I posted a blog about the trip and you can read it here. While in Canada, we were able to baptize a few of the students. I was able to help the student pastor, Brett Ayers, baptize a few of the students. I already posted a few pictures of the baptisms on another¬†blog, but I just got my hands on a few more I wanted to post.

Baptisms are becoming less and less “popular” it seems in our culture. The importance, and teaching, of baptism is not a priority in many churches. Baptism is an outward sign of an inward reality. If Christ is in you, you should identity with Him publicly through water baptism. I posted a blog about Elevation Church doing “spontaneous baptisms” awhile back and you can read it here. It was encouraging to see Elevation correctly teaching and making baptism a big deal, because it is a big deal!

Youth Ministry Internship Review

About two weeks ago I finished up my youth ministry internship in York, PA at Church of the Open Door. I posted a few blogs throughout the summer about what I was doing, but wanted to post one last blog reviewing my whole internship. First, it was one of the best summers of my life. I have enjoyed the youth ministry classes over the past few years at PBC, but it was great to finally be in youth ministry for a summer and gain practical experience that I could not have got in the classroom. Second, I am thankful for PBC having a such a great youth internship program that is required for all student ministry minors. Not only am I thankful for the internship PBC supplies, but am thankful for all the great things the youth pastor of COD, Brett Ayers, allowed me to be part of. A few of these things were a trip to Canada, co-leading a Jr. High mission trip, helping plan/run a three night event, teaching a Jr. High Sunday school class, teaching and leading two mid-week services, and many other things.

It would take too much time for me to review in detail the whole summer so I want to reflect on the major thing I learned this summer through my internship. The major thing I learned this summer is the importance of relationships in ministry. Let me explain, I came out of and also volunteered in a great youth ministry which was extremely program based. Don’t get me wrong, I love that youth ministry and God is using it to do great things in the life’s of students. The fact still remains that because of the meeting space and other circumstances the youth ministry is more centered around programs. When I got to the youth ministry of COD this summer the first thing that caught my eye was how relationship based the youth ministry was. Throughout the summer I learned that the personality of the youth pastor and youth leaders where the same, very relationship oriented. Also, the students themselves where extremely relational. This was a hard shift for me because I am very task driven, but I had to learn how to be relational, especially in the area of youth ministry.

Let me sum it up like this, my youth professor at PBC, Shean Phillips, says that the equation for discipleship is this: appropriate relationships + Biblical teaching = Discipleship. I learned this first hand this summer! I have a passion to teach students the Bible, but lack in the area of building meaningful relationships with them. God knew I had a heart to teach students the Bible, but He knew I needed to learn that true discipleship doesn’t happen with teaching alone, it takes a relationship as well. I am thankful that God placed me in a ministry that taught me this and showed me the importance of relationships in ministry. God allowed me to build some strong relationships with students this summer and when I had the privilege to teach them the Bible I saw that my teaching was so much more impactful in their life’s because I had a relationship with them.

So what’s next for me you may be wondering? I’m glad you asked! Tomorrow I will be starting my pastoral internship also required by PBC for pastoral minors. I am doing this internship at Lifechange/Weymouth Community Church under lead pastor Dan Jarvis. This internship is my last piece of education at PBC so I will be graduating this May! I plan to start seminary through Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary in January online. I will be posting blogs throughout this internship as well. Thank you to everyone who has prayed for me this summer and please continue to pray for me as I do this next internship.

Canadian Adventure Review

Last Spring when I was getting my internship nailed down with Church of the Open Door, Brett Ayers, the youth pastor, told me I would be going to Canada with the high schoolers. The moment I hard that I was looking forward to it. This past week was the trip and we took around 30 students and leaders to Canada! We went to a camp called Canadian Adventure which is a ministry of Silver Birch Ranch in White Lake, WI. Canadian Adventure is along the Montreal River and is one of the most amazing places I have ever seen. God’s creation is so beautiful up there and it was great to get away from technology, media, and the busyness of life for a week and enjoy God’s creation.

We did so many things while we were there that it is almost hard to remember all of them much less write about them. We did a lot of hiking and spent two days just doing that. We hiked to water falls called Hidden Falls and also hiked up a mountain called Mt. Sinai. We also did some team building activities the first two days. What we did before we got to Canada is we split all the students up into groups of 4 or 5. Each group had a leader, or two, that lead that team. Throughout the week the students did various things with their team. We did low ropes a few times and each team worked with each other to complete each low rope activity. Also, the teams would meet after the personal devotion time in the morning and discuss what they got out of their devotional time. I had the privilege to lead a team of four students with a college leader named Matt. We had two girls, Katie and Cheyenne, and two guys, Derek and Tyler, on our team. We had a blast as a team and it was an honor to get to know these students and watch the Lord work in their hearts all week. The first few days of the trip we stayed at the main Canadian Adventure camp and only did day activities like low ropes, hiking, swimming, frisbee, volleyball, canoeing, and things like that. On Wednesday was when the trip got really good. The camp has a few cabins along the river and they have one called Blackhawk that is about 30 miles up river. ¬†On Wednesday we loaded up the boats with luggage and food and headed up river. Being on the boat for a few hours was great and allowed us to have time to bond as a group. On the way upriver we stopped at a huge waterfall called Ten Miles Falls. We had lunch on the boat there and then got out and played in the waterfall. It was huge so it was fun to climb up parts of it, swim in it, and go under the water as it came crashing down. After awhile there we headed on upriver and got to our Blackhawk cabin. This cabin was just one big cabin with two side so the guys were on one side and the girls were on the other. We stayed at Blackhawk until Friday so while we were there we had no running water and things like that so all the meals were cooked over a fire which was awesome! Each team was assigned a meal so each team got to cook a meal as well as cleaning up and such. We had two great nights of singing and studying the Bible around the fire at Blackhawk! Thursday was a great day! We went up the river a mile or two from Blackhawk to a huge set of water falls called Golden Staircase. At the bottom of the falls there is a 20-30 foot cliff that is perfect for jumping off of. So we spent some time jumping off the cliff and also had lunch there at the bottoms of the falls. After lunch we did a two-hour solo time. For anyone who doesn’t know that term that just means it’s you alone with God for a certain period of time. We started from the bottom of the falls and just dropped students off in various places along the falls for about a two-mile stretch. They had two hours to do their devotions for the day, pray, sing, or anything that they wanted to connect with God. It was an awesome time for not just the students, but for me! After the two-hour solo time we all meet tat the very top of the falls and had a great time of worship. We all sat by the falls and sang worship songs for about an hour, it was awesome! If you thought Thursday was good, wait until you hear about Friday! So Friday was the highlight for me! There were nine students on the trip who wanted to be baptized. So on Friday morning me and Brett, well Brett lead and I just observed, a baptism class out by the fire. Brett talked to the students about what baptism was Biblically and how it is an outward picture of an inward reality. All the students understood it and were ready! We gathered all the students in the boats and headed back to the base of the cliff we jumped off of Thursday. There each of the nine students shared their salvation testimony and were baptized in the Montreal River, amen! It was awesome! I was privileged to get to help baptize three students! After the baptism we loaded up the boats and headed back to the main Canadian Adventure camp and had a great dinner. Friday night was when God blew us away! We gathered Friday night for our time and worship and little did we know we would end up singing till midnight! One of our leaders, Tia, led us all week with her acoustic guitar and on Friday we started singing and the students didn’t wait to stop! Students, and leaders, were lifting their hands, prayer, and singing their hearts out to God! After a few hours we broke up into our teams for a time of just sharing what God is doing in our hearts and it was great to hear my students on my team open up and share. On Saturday we wrapped up our study in Philippians and started our long journey back to PA. We drove through the night again and arrived back around 9am on Sunday.

Overall the trip was amazing! God worked in my heart and it was amazing seeing students changed by God and His Word all week! Below our some pictures from the trip. You can click on the pictures to make them bigger.

Here is a picture of all the leaders at the top of Golden Staircase!

Here our some pictures of the whole group. First picture was at Golden Staircase and the second picture was on top of Mt. Sinai.

Here is a picture of my group for the week! (Tyler, Matt, Katie, Me, Cheyenne, Derek)

This guy was an intern at Canadian Adventure so with both of us having the common bond for being an intern we had to get a picture together.

This is me jumping off the cliff. Not the best picture, but the only one I had of me jumping.

The best pictures of the whole trip, the baptisms! I helped baptize three of the students and you can see those picture below.

Here are a few pictures of me with some of the students!

Ignition Review

This past week I was a part of one of the biggest events that I will be a part of during my time here at COD as a youth ministry intern. Every summer COD Student Ministries start off the summer with a three night event called Ignition. It started on Wednesday night and ended on Friday night. Each night it starts at 6:45pm and goes to 9:45pm. We had about 130-150 students each night. Many people have seen my tweets and Facebook posts about it and have been asking me to explain what all Ignition is and what we did. I will try to summarize the whole event here and also post some videos so you can see what went down each night.

Each night of Ignition is basically a high-energy program that has many elements and always ends with a big activity at the end of the night. Each night elements of fun, games, time of worship, teaching on Jesus, and a big activity at the end. We opened the doors at 6:40ish and as the students came in we had music blasting and a countdown rolling. Up until we opened the doors each night they hung out in the commons outside the gym. Each year they choose a cause to focus on and this year we focused on the persecuted church so each night we had a time where we talked about the persecuted church and prayed for them. Below are some highlights from each night of some awesome things that went down as part of the program.

Wednesday-As the countdown ended we kicked off the program with an intro video that student pastor Brett Ayers made. Also, we had a stage game called Fan the Flame. Basically it was an air guitar contest and we had a few students come up and give us their best air guitar solo and the crowd voted on who was the best. After a good time of worship led by our worship band Brett spoke about “Who is Jesus?” We wanted to start Ignition off with an epic activity so we played black light dodgeball at the end of the night. We bought black lights and placed them all over the gym as well as dodge balls we painted neon yellow that glowed extremely well in the black lights. We killed the lights and played some awesome games of black light dodgeball. The students, and leaders, loved it. We played the Tron soundtrack during the games to give it a good atmosphere.

Thursday-Thursday night was a special night. It was student led night so a group of core students led the whole program. It was awesome! One of the biggest highlights was a student named Ryan Arnold performed the song Background by Lecrae. He did an awesome job and everyone loved it. To open up the program with a bang a group of students on the worship band opened up the night with performing All Around Me by Flyleaf. Instead of Brett teaching we had a short video with one of our students explaining a story in the Bible where Jesus healed a dying boy. We also had a video testimony from one of our students about how another student reached out and helped her when she was younger in the youth group. We ended the night doing some mattress surfing! We had a fun video to get the game going where one of our mattresses was “lost” and two students had to run out of the gym and back to Brett’s house to get it. We pre-made a video and showed it so it looked like we were watching them really go get it.

Friday-Friday night was much more laid back then the first two nights. We had a band from Maryland called Katie Got Guts who preformed at the beginning of the program. Then we had our worship team lead us in a time of worship followed by a message from Brett called “Depend on Jesus.” To end off the night we had two big inflatables in the gym for the students to go crazy on.

A lot of work went into this three night event and we crammed a ton of stuff into each nights program. Overall it was a success and the Lord was faithful in bringing it all together. If you want to watch the videos we made and used in Ignition you can see them all here.

Black Light Dodgeball

Every teenager remembers playing dodgeball in youth group at sometime or another, but how many of them remember playing black light dodgeball? Black light dodgeball is a game that every youth group needs to try to play at some time or another. This week we are having an event called Ignition to kick-off the summer. Ignition is a three night event for students that includes music, games, a concert, inflatables, and this year black light dodgeball! Since I am the youth ministry intern here at COD I am playing a huge role in making this event happen along with the youth pastor Brett Ayers. I have been talking a lot about this black light dodgeball on Twitter and Facebook so I figured I would post a blog and explain what we are using and how to go about preparing it so you can use it in your youth ministry one day.

First, you need black lights and plenty of them. We ordered 24 black lights and then went to Lowes and bought shop light holders to put them in. This part will be were you spend most of your money, but will be worth it because you can use the black lights for something else after the event. We are setting the black lights on each side of the gym and hanging some as well. You can do many different things with the black lights, but the important thing is to have enough of them and have them spread out as well as not in a place where they can get hit by a ball or person.

Second, you of course need dodge balls. Most people think that white dodge balls will glow, but they actually do not. We went to Dicks and bought five white mikasa dodge balls. Then we got flourescent orange spray paint from Wal-Mart and just sprayed the dodge balls orange. They look great and will glow in the black lights.

I will post a follow-up blog after the Ignition event and let you know exactly how it worked and note any changes or things you may want to do if you are going to try this out. Below is promotional picture we showed the students for black light dodge ball.