Thursday, December 29, 2011

Thoughts on Partnering with Parents in Ministry

With Christmas break in full swing I have had time to sit and think about this past year of ministry and few huge things I have picked up. One them being, the importance of partnering with parents in youth ministry. I used to be fearful of parents when it came to mixing them in with the ministry I was a part of, I'm not sure why. I sort of had this paranoia or "parentnoia" when it came to spending time with them. I was afraid of what they would think about me and the ministry I was doing. I would worry about being judged by them or that they would think I wasn't doing a good job. In some extreme cases I felt like they were trying to get me fired. I chalk this all up to being young and insecure. I can confidently say that I no longer have those feelings when it comes to parents of students I get to work with. They are the complete opposite. I have come to be these parents biggest cheerleader, realizing that we are on the same team. We both want their Jr. High student to mature, grow in their own faith and really understand who Jesus Christ is in their life.

One of the ways we like to get the parents involved in the ministry is by inviting them be part of our services. We have a "Parents Night" where students are encouraged to bring Mom and Dad with them to our mid-week program. This is a night where the parents experience youth group, not just sit in the back and watch their students. We try to get them involved in the game (think of the newlywed game only with parents and their son or daughter). We invite them to be a part of worship and listen in on the lesson for the night (it always makes me a little nervous, seeing how I am the one teaching). We also invite them to our Christmas party Lip-Sync so they can see how talented their students are. There are always tons of laughs and plenty of cookies to go around. I have come to truly appreciate the parents of our students, they are encouraging and inspiring.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Thought on Blogging

I have never had the gift of writing, I'll be honest. I am a terrible speller, and horrible at grammar. Thank the good Lord for peer reviews because if I didn't have people checking my papers in college I don't think I would have graduated. Time has passed since graduation and I find myself trying to start a healthy habit of blogging some of my thoughts and ideas. Maybe one or two people read this, but my hope is that I can reach some sort of audience through this.

My first encounter with a blogger was with my good friend Joel Mayward. We worked together in the Jr. High Ministry at Red Mountain Community Church and through that time I got to see a guy that passionately believed in sharing his thoughts and views with people on the inter-web. He would blog about his week with his wife, about the movies he would see, about the youth event we pulled off. He would blog about various things that he was passionate about and wanted to share with others. I'll be honest, when I first saw him do it I made fun of him for it. He took it in stride and even wrote a blog about me as his intern. (Not trying to brag but it got quite a lot of hits!) The seed was planted, it just took a while for it to grow.

Years later I have started this blog, and am trying to get in the habit of posting often enough to where I can say I am a true blogger. Does that mean I will have a million readers? Probably not, but it does mean I will have a healthy way of sharing my thoughts on things going on in my life with others. I'll try to keep them interesting.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Friendship Chronicles: Fernando Cota Edition

I guess the saying "opposites attract" applies in more ways than just with girls. I am talking about the type of friendship that brings a person in your life that sometimes makes you ask yourself "how did we even become friends?... in a good way. Allow me to introduce my good friend Fernando Cota or Fern, as he goes to most.

I met Fernando during my freshmen year of college. It wasn't until my sophomore year at Southwestern College though, that Fern and I became really good friends. Fern was my accountability partner through this lame version of mens group that some students were putting on. I can honestly say that his friendship was the only real solid thing that came from that "Barbarian way/Wild at Heart" mens group.  

Fern and my friendship is based largely on opposites and balance. He is the quiet friend that I need in my life to call me out when I am being ridiculous. He is the friend that can make me laugh with only a few words. Like I said, he has a very dry sense of humor but is solid none the less. We also work in the same Jr. High ministry at North Ridge Community Church. He came on staff when I became the Jr. high pastor and it has been a blessing watching him grow and mature as he ministers to Jr. High students. Fern's friendship is the type that produces good character in both of us. We can bring anything to the table no matter how tough the conversation is, we both will walk away sharper and better off. Fern is the type of friend that will probably be sitting with me on the porch with our future wives as we watch the sunset. Until then, we are having a great time just being bachelors 'til the rapture.

Fern has one of the driest sense of humors, he is a man of few words. However, when he does talk it's one of three things: One, something thoughtful and profound; two, something sarcastic and hilarious, or three, something thats going to poke fun of me. Fern is the classic middle child where he likes to chill below the radar but isn't a guy you would forget when you meet him. Fern is studying to get his masters and is pursuing the idea of going into ministry with some sort of counseling involved. He also slaps the bass pretty darn well! 

Random Facts about Fern:
- He plays the Saxophone. Thats just classy. 
- He drives a Jeep and is a firm believer in the "Jeep to Jeep wave".
- He is solid bass player.
- He is single, Ladies...

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Thoughts on "Friday Night Lights"

Recently Friday Night Lights wrapped up its final season and said good-bye to many fans. I could tell you about how I got something in my eye and how it began to water many times as I watched the final show, but just recalling all those emotions would only bring it back and I could lose my man card for that. The series finale truly caught the essence of why so many people fell in love with this amazing show.

It was no secret that the ratings on this show weren't the highest of any TV program, which I believed had to do with what made the show so unique and great. The uniqueness that really made us fall in love with FNL came in two parts, family and football. These two elements had never been woven together before like this for an audience, families were turned off by the moral complexity; whereas sports fans often found the games not very realistic and somewhat way too short. FNL was never really show that viewers could just sit and lounge on the couch and be entertained. This made it very difficult to find a genre to call home only to be loved by dedicated fans that enjoyed that it didn't fit in with other TV shows.

I came to the conclusion that Coach Taylor (Kyle Chandler) and wife Tami (Connie Britton) had one of the best TV marriages of all time (I would place them even above this lovely couple). Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton had a gift for making the audience feel a part of their marriage from their fights, to their love for each other as husband and wife (SPOILER! This is shown in Coach's decisions to follow his wife to her dream job in the series finale) and on top of all that, their inspiring partnership as parents to their daughters and the players. Side note: Both are up for an Emmy, to which I hope they win!

The writing for FNL has always been astonishing, that is, if you don't count the weird murder plot line in season two but, then again who does? It was not surprising to watch an episode full of so much heart that allowed us fans to come full circle. To watch some of the players being interviewed by reporters (in season one we got Jason Street this time around we got Vince), gave the audience a great feeling of nostalgia.

The series finale had Coach and his team going for the state championship, this was a real nail biter (SPOILER! This might of had a lot to do with the fact that the whole game was show in silence only to have us wait in suspense to find out if the Lions had won state or not). The suspense helped deliver the message that it wasn't about whether they won or lost, but about the journey that Coach and the Lions took together. I feel like this reflected even the shows outlook, capping off their finale in the same way, that it wasn't about ratings or awards but the journey that the show and the fans took together these past five seasons. To which we thank you FNL for amazing show and journey it has been. Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can't Lose.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Thoughts on Fathers Day

This past Sunday I found myself at church telling several different dads "Happy Fathers Day". It was a nice feeling to look at them as they looked at their kids and smile. It was something that touched me in my deeply in many ways.

I myself don't have the great relationship with my father. This is something that truly saddens me at times and is something I wrestle with often. I love my dad very much and I do realize that I wouldn't be here in this world if it wasn't for him. No really I wouldn't, babies come from a mom and dad incase you weren't filled in on that little bit of knowledge when you were little. There are certain characteristics that I have gotten from my dad, for instance  he taught me that a man's character and word are the most important thing a man has. He taught me to be proud of where I came from and of our name (yes, pride in the last name is a mexican culture thing... I think). These are a few things I learned from him that have stuck with me all these years.

This past fathers day, I found myself getting frustrated because of somethings but I found myself drawing close to the idea that I might not have the greatest relationship with my dad but I have a heavenly father that I have a great relationship with and that is one relationship I can continually draw close to. There is no doubt in my mind that my dad loves me, or that he cares about me, I do love him and care for him very much and no matter how strained our relationship is. He will always be my dad and someone I thank God for.

I just wanted to wish my dad a happy fathers and hope that he knows that I am glad he is my father and that I pray for him continually. I love you dad! Happy fathers day to Ramiro F. Rubio and the rest of the dads out there. 

Friday, June 17, 2011

Thoughts on Jr. High Summer Camp

Its been a week since I had the great honor of leading about 39 Jr. high students and 6 leaders to Forrest Home for our Jr. High summer camp. I'll be honest even though I am young I am just now fully recovering from all the craziness.

Camp was filled with good times and plenty of crazy things went on in that week. From Rec with our amazing blue team (we took second this year...BUMMER!) to being one of the MC's for the entire camp. All in all it was a lot of work but looking back on it now after I slept for three days straight afterwards, it was all worth it.

Highlights from camp
-Spending time with all the Jr. Highers from North Ridge Community Church
-Cabin time with some of the guys in my cabin (solid discussions)
-Blobbing our leader Ross and watching him do a full black flip (I still say we should of won the contest)
-Being and MC for the camp and giving out a million high-fives daily different Jr. High students.
-Watching the students worship.
-Spending time with other great Jr. high Pastors that share the same passion as me.
-Seeing young college students fall in love with ministry and hanging with the Jr. High students.

Camp was a blessing to be a part of and now that it is over it is time to look forward to the rest of the summer and ride that momentum built from such a great experience. I'll be praying that God can use all that time up there to bring our group together and push us to pursue Him more deeply.

Summer camp is always a blast and is something I know the students I shepherd look forward to. What do you do for the summer at your church?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Friendship Chronicles: Joel Mayward Edition

Have you ever met someone and at first you weren't sure what to think of them but after some time you start to see this person becoming a huge part of your life and no I am not talking about a girl. I am talking about my good friend/mentor/ spiritual older brother Joel Mayward.

Joel came into my life the fall of 2007 as my boss and the new Jr. High Pastor (Or director however you see it) at Red Mountain Community Church when I was starting my second year as an intern. The first time we actually spoke Joel actually asked me out to dinner to talk and catch up since we would most likely be working with each other. (Yes, we had a bro-date at Applebees and it was magical!) In this first time talking and getting to know each other I began to see a guy that would influence practically every fiber of my life. 

Joel has a huge heart for all things, he is true man after God's own hear. He has inspired me to be a better person and man of God. He is a great dad to my adopted nephew Copland (or as I like to call him Carlos). He is deeply passionate about leading the youth of today (Jr. High or now High School) to come to know the Lord in a more deeper and meaningful way. This is one area that he has greatly influenced in my life and one he continues to do through our times together. 

Joel and I share a deep love for movies, this was one of the first threads that brought us closer as friends. We have had many conversation about movies and their plots or characters, which ones are good and which ones we did not like. Through this bond Joel has helped me see deeper meaning in movies. i have grown even more to appreciate a fine cinematic adventure. Maybe someday we will do battle and through the board game Scene It to decided who the real movie nerd is. 

Random Facts about Joel:
- He is allergic to EVERYTHING, and I mean everything. Pollen, beans even poodles. 
- He loves to give High- Fives like they are going out of style
- He is constantly blogging about something (Check link above)
- He is always reading about 100 books at a time.

Joel thank you for all you have done in my life. You are true friend and a great brother in my life.