Parents,You may have seen some information about a local mission project Reach 42 is doing June 23-27th in the May church newsletter. I just wanted to update you on that trip. Here's what I know for sure...
1. The event starts at our normal Sunday meeting time of 5pm on June 23rd. Students should come prepared at that time packed for the week ahead.
2. The group will be staying together the whole time including 4 nights at a local Christian camp called "The Refuge". While we will be out and about serving throughout Pitt County by day this will be our home base during the week to rest up and get sleep. We will have group messages and praise & worship at the camp during the week. The camp is located just outside of Ayden. Guys and girls will be in different houses. Find out more about The Refuge at: http://www.thesonsetrefuge.org/
3. The cost will be $75.00/person for the event which will includes lodging, last day water park visit, & various recreational activities throughout the week (at The Refuge) including and use of the camps sports equipment, fishing, canoeing on the lake, camp fire ring each night, and swimming one night. Students will need approximately an additional $5/day for a fast food meal Mon.-Thur.
**The $75 event fee will be due by our Sunday night meeting on June 9th
4. We will be doing a community VBS in a Hispanic neighborhood close to Salem (it will take place in the mobile home park and not at church). The complete schedule of mission/outreach projects for each day has not been finalized but more will be added. However, the community VBS will take quite some time to prepare each day.
5. On our last day, Thursday, we will be going to West Water Park in Kinston from 10am-12:30pm. We will stop for lunch after this and should return to Salem around 2:15pm. Here's a link to info. about the water park: http://www.westwaterpark.net/Action Steps: Help Needed from You!
1. I'm looking for additional adults (parents & adult youth workers) to volunteer with us during the week and chaperone cabins at night (students should be worn out and there will be mandatory curfew/sleep times). If you could commit the whole time that would be great. If full-time doesn't work please let me know your part-time availability.
2. I'm looking for families who would be willing to provide dinner for the group in their home throughout the week. Please let me know if you would be willing to feed us once during the week.
3. Lastly, I'm looking for any suggestions you may have for an outreach project we could do during the week. We have the VBS project. I'm also talking with The Salvation Army and The Refuge about ways to help them. I'm also looking to help at the Community Shelter and a grocery store canned food drive.
If you know of a need someone in the Simpson community has, then please let me know about it so we can see how it may be worked in to our schedule for the week.THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!
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Remember that this Sunday is Youth Sunday. Most youth in the ministry have
a part within the service to help with. They will need to be in the church
sanctuary at 8am Sunday
morning. They'll need to attend
both the 8:45 and 11am services so we'll be done around noon.
I've attached an outline for students and a copy of the bulletin to this post. Please make sure youth look over their role in the service using the stuent outline and call, text, or email me if they have questions.
Lastly, any youth wishing to carry our raise funds and participate in the
CROP Walk this Sunday afternoon (at St. James) will need to meet back at Salem
at 2pm after Youth Sunday. We will not
have our regular 5pm Sunday
meeting this week.
Please pray for the services Sunday. Thanks,
Jody Paramore, M.A.Ed.
Reach 42 (Salem UMC
1. Be a Student of What They are Learning
When we were growing up, our family was everything to us. They were the safe place to run to. They were the calm in the storm. They were the people whose opinions we trusted most and whose advice we took to heart. But over the years, especially the teen years, the voices of our mom and dad become more like nails on a chalkboard than the sweet sound of comfort. So what happened? Our relationship evolved. And while that isn’t necessarily the most comfortable thing in the world for a teenager to go through, it also isn’t the worst thing either. So what do we do as our students become less and less willing to listen to the wisdom their families give? How do we handle the everyday conflicts that come up between students and their families? These are important questions worth finding answers to. Because, let’s face it, the relationship is changing. But as difficult as this may be to handle right now, that change can be for the good of everyone. 2. Be a Student of Your Student
One of the toughest aspects of the teenage years is the growing feeling our students have that the conflicts within their families are actually their own fault. And maybe as a parent, you hear that and agree that most of the developing conflict is
the fault of your teenager. You may find yourself thinking if you could just fix
them, things would be better. There is no doubt our teenagers have some attitude adjustments that need to be made and some issues that need to be dealt with. That comes with the parenting territory at any age. And while we are taking a look at how we can help them through their teen years, it’s also a good time to take a look at our own actions and reactions within our family to figure out how we can actually escalate or diffuse the tensions that arise.
As we experience anxiety in our own marital relationships, work relationships, friendships and even our own view of ourselves, it’s important to remember not to project these anxieties onto our children.
Because your teenager it not your best friend.
Your teenager is not a licensed counselor.
Your teenager is not responsible for the tension between you and your boss or you and your spouse or you and your other children.
As Rhett Smith (MDiv, LMFT-A), a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Associate, and part-time pastor to youth and families at Highland Park Presbyterian Church in Dallas, Texas explains in his article entitled “Managing Anxiety in the Family: Strategies for Changing our Relationship Dance
” (fulleryouthinstitute.org), “If we really want to have healthy families, often we need to begin with the adults in the family taking responsibility for themselves. Rather than point the finger at our kids because they might be convenient scapegoats for our anxiety and conflict, real transformation lies within a family’s ability to do the hard work that relationships require.”
While this is solid advice, it can be really difficult to do! In the book Parenting Beyond Your Capacity,
Reggie Joiner points out that one of the best tools to help you walk the journey with your teenager is to “Widen the Circle.” In other words, it’s important to invite other healthy adults into the life of your family; adults who are committed to your children and your family for no other reason than that they care. And this is also a great way to begin to develop processes for taking a look at how our family functions and how we can develop the most healthy family possible.
With this in mind, your student will be invited to participate in an XP, or experience, that encourages them to choose some wise people to help guide them through middle and senior high school. And, we have also encouraged them to include you in the process. Look forward to some more information from your student’s small group leader after week 2 of this series.
Our teenagers are dealing with so many pressures and competing voices. Our best bet is to set them up for success by being their champion and a safe place for them to unload their woes and worries. While this may not be an easy thing to do, it is important for us as parents to start with ourselves and look at how we play into the tension within our family relationships. We
are the best place to start when addressing the health of our families. 3. Action Point
While it may seem like there are very few things we can agree with our students on while in the middle of these tumultuous teenage years, we probably all have a similar goal in mind for our families. We want to be functional. We want to be healthy. We want to do everything we can to set ourselves up for success. And this may require some hard work—on everyone’s part. But, as parents we should be leading the way here.
So, as you get a glimpse into how your family is changing and evolving, sit down and ask yourself the following questions, taking the time to be introspective and answering honestly—as difficult as that might be. Then sit down with your teenager and ask them the specified questions that follow. Parent Questions:
- How can you learn not to be reactive but to take a step back and get some perspective on the tension and issues within your family?
- What can you do to help your children see a patient and in-control parent in the midst of conflict?
- How would you feel about letting someone else into your family dynamics in order to bring the most health to your family relationships?
- Who would you consider to be trustworthy to confide in about your family and the potential issues and struggles you face?
- Are you opposed to seeking outside counsel from a pastor or Christian counselor? Why or why not?
- Think about some families that you know and enjoy spending time around. What makes them comfortable and fun to spend time with? Try to share a particular experience that you’ve had with this family.
- What are some things you have seen or experienced this family do that you admire?
- What are some things that you would enjoy doing together with your own family?
- What are some characteristics of you’re your family that you really like? Why?
- How do you feel about the interactions you have with each of the people in your own family? Is there one person you have an easier time relating to compared to the others? Is there one person you have a harder time relating to compared to the others? Why do you think this is?
- What is one way that you would like to see your family change and grow?
- What can you begin doing this week to make that change happen?
After answering the previous questions, ask your teen to help you make a list of 5 family goals for the following year (i.e. have a family meal together once a week to connect and re-assess the above questions, commit to spending one radio/cell phone-free drive to or from school per week to just talk, research and set up a family counseling session, etc.).
To Read Rhett Smith’s entire article, go to http://fulleryouthinstitute.org/2011/06/managing-anxiety-in-the-family/ Get connected to a wider community of parents at www.orangeparents.org.
WHAT WE’RE TALKING ABOUT:
Here is an overview of what we’re talking about. Listed below the summary is a “parent cue” to help you dialog with your child about the session. The question is intended not just to be asked by you, but to be responded to by BOTH of you. Use this opportunity to find out what God is teaching your child, and allow your child to see what God is teaching you as well.
CAN YOU HEAR ME?
Doesn’t it seem like there should be more to prayer than just our typical “Help me, bless me, protect me, give to me” prayers? Prayer has to be more than just talking to God—because He knows our thoughts, right? It has to be more than just us making our requests known to God—because doesn’t He already know everything that’s going on in our lives? It’s like there’s some secret, some mystery we hope to unlock so we can “get through” to God. If we could just say the right words, maybe we can break the code and get a “yes” to all our requests. But what if prayer was something much bigger than that? What if prayer went beyond us getting what we wanted, and became about how to grow closer to God’s heart instead? What if prayer wasn’t just about changing our present situation, what if it was about changing us?
Session One (May 20th)
Have you ever noticed how relationships seem to drift apart when we don’t get to spend time together? There’s just something significant that happens when we intentionally carve out time to connect with a friend or a family member. We get to hear what’s on their minds and hearts. We get to see the person beyond just what he or she can do for us, and see who he or she really is. That’s the heart of prayer—it’s our chance to connect with God in a way that goes beyond “Help me, bless me, protect, give to me.”
Session One Parent Cue: Do you have time every day or every week when you intentionally carve out time to spend with God? How do you guard that time? What are some challenges in keeping that time?
Session Two (June 3rd)
If we spend time with God intentionally, if we make time for Him, then what do we say to Him when we get alone with Him? What are the things we talk about? After all, He knows everything about us, our lives and our world. It’s not like we have any “news.” It’s not like we have to give Him an update on how things are going. So what do we talk about? In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus focuses on three things, and leads us through a process that will not only change our perspective about what is going on around us, but also our perception of God.
Session Two Parent Cue: How does spending time with God put things going on in my life into perspective? How can we do a better job of honoring this time and making it a priority?
Session Three (June 10th)
We can’t talk about prayer without addressing the obvious question—what happens when God doesn’t answer? Jesus has a surprising response to that—you keep asking. Because if something is that important to you, if something has captured your heart that strongly, then it’s something that you can’t let go. It’s something you can’t simply walk away from. So keep asking. And Jesus says that maybe, just maybe, God will honor your persistence.
Session Three Parent Cue: Is there anything on my heart, anything that I feel so strongly about, that I would keep asking God about . . . even if He doesn’t answer for a long time?
After reading this chapter, what jumps out at me is how even after sinning David finds a way worship God. Throughout my life, I have found myself running FROM God after sinning instead of running TO God as David does here. Looking "Through the Window" of time 3000 years ago, David teaches us that we can bring a sacrifice to God of a broken spirit and regretful heart (v. 17). This pleases God and it's an acceptable way to worship Him even after sinning. Learning to run TO God, no matter what we have been through, honors Him and is always proper worship.
Be a Student of Your StudentWhat was it that used to make the holidays special when you were a kid? Was it the chill in the air signaling that Christmas break was right around the corner? Baking and decorating ginger bread cookies with a sibling or your mom or dad? Or, maybe it was that feeling you got on Christmas Eve as you waited for the morning when you could finally tear into those beautifully wrapped packages underneath your tree. Whatever may have made the holidays a special time for you, there is one thing that tends to define the Christmas season for most of us: family. When we are young, our families define what Christmas looks like from the traditions they keep to the way they express the story of Jesus to those around them. And, for those of us who are now raising families of our own, we are now defining Christmas for our families. It can feel a bit overwhelming establishing the values, traditions and attitudes that revolve around this idea of Jesus’ arrival on this Earth. While most students may be able to tell us the “real” meaning of the season, they aren’t necessarily connecting it to the value of the Christmas story. Developmentally, our students are in a place where it is difficult to think outside of their own world and their own lives. They may have head knowledge of the Christmas story, but in order to take that and bring it down to heart level, there has to be an experience that they can call their own. This is especially important for those of us with middle school and younger high school students who are still in the developmental stage of egocentric abstraction. During this stage, your student is the center of his or her own world and is not easily able to identify with ideas and concepts that are not personally connected to their own feelings. However, when they have the chance to experience the joy of reaching out to others in the midst of other’s true needs, they can personally identify with the value of the Christmas story. For those of us with older high school students, now is the time when they are beginning to widen their worldview and understand the world outside as more than the sum of their own feelings and experiences. For them, the experience of reaching out to others is a chance to put legs to the social and global concerns that are already stirring in their hearts. Once the meaning of the Christmas story is tangible through personal experience, it isn’t easily forgotten in the mind of your teen. Another thing to remember is that though developmentally your students are in a place where they may not fully “get” the meaning of the Christmas story, we as the adults in their lives are. It is necessary for us to set the example and show them the importance of the Christmas story. So, we may need to take some time on our own to reflect on the value of Jesus’ arrival on Earth before we can begin to define that for our students. Action PointThis Action Point is where we, as parents, can start to define what Christmas is truly about through the traditions we establish and the way we express the Christmas story—in our homes, in our schools, in our churches, in our neighborhoods and to the world at large. This is not just an exercise for the Christmas season, but rather a great time to start refocusing our family’s attention on putting Christ back into His rightful place. So, this Christmas as you and your family settle into the usual gate of the holiday season, take a moment to pray, reflect and search your heart for how you want to represent the Christmas story to your family. And then, do something together as a family that will allow those values to be expressed in a way that will forever shape the way they “do” Christmas. Here are some ideas for ways you and your family can connect to and define the Christmas story together:
This Christmas, as you celebrate the gift of Jesus and the story of God’s redemption in all of our lives, take the time to put that message into motion. Christmas is not just about giving things away so that we get that warm fuzzy feeling, or because we want to “share the wealth.” It’s about expressing God’s heart for justice, love and reconciliation. As well, here is an encouraging blog post entitled “10 Reasons to Escape Excessive Consumerism” by Joshua Becker. Check it out at: http://www.becomingminimalist.com/2011/08/03/escaping-excessive-consumerism/
- Adopt a family for Christmas through the Salvation Army: Salvationarmyusa.org.
- Volunteer at a local homeless shelter to serve a meal on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.
- Give one less gift this year to each family member and instead buy gifts for children whose parents are in prison through Angel Tree: Angeltree.org/angeltreehome.
- If you have a musical family, visit a convalescent home or local children’s hospital and sing some of those Christmas favorites.
- Help the local hospice or meals-on-wheels organization distribute Christmas dinners. You can help prepare the actual meals or donate your time and car to transport the meals to the elderly or sick.
- Look through Martha Stewart and other crafty magazines or old craft books for Christmas-inspired crafts and buy enough supplies to have a hospital ward of children or a retirement home ward make crafts or ornaments with you and your family.
- Ask your church if there is a family that attends that could use some extra help this holiday season. Invite them over for Christmas dinner or offer to buy and decorate a Christmas tree for them.