SHWC Names You Need to Know

SHWC starts today!  Here are a few names you need to be familiar with as the week goes on.  Be sure to check back right here Friday afternoon, Friday night, Saturday morning, Saturday night, and Sunday morning to get video updates so you know how to be praying for our FSM group at Winterchill!  Be sure to click everyone’s picture to find out more about them!

 

Ed Newton

Dave Hassell

Tim Caldwell

Yours Truly

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…You Don’t Know The Answer?

Students ask lots of questions.  I’ve had college aged students not know who Israel is, and I’ve had sixth graders ask about “Apostolic Dispensationalism.”  If you’re involved in ministry at any level, you’ll get easy questions (“What’s Israel?”) and you’ll get off the wall questions (“Do you believe in apostolic dispensationalism?”).

The good news is that you’re a small group leader because you love the Lord and you love students, not because you’re expected to be a walking Bible Commentary.  Here are three things to do WHEN a student asks a question and you don’t know the answer!

1. Affirm them.  Make sure they know that asking questions is a good thing.  As leaders, the last thing we want to do is to make our students feel like questions are bad.  Often times, students are afraid to ask questions becaue they’re afraid of looking stupid, afraid questions are bad, and don’t know what to do about their doubts or curiosities.  I would hate to be the reason a student stops asking questions.

2. Be honest.  If they ask a question and you don’t know what to say, the last thing we want to do is to make up an answer, or give it a good guess.  Let them know you’re in the same boat they are.

3. Tell them you’ll try and get them an answer by next meeting.  And do.  Don’t make empty promises or flippant commitments.  If you tell them you will find out, make sure you remember.  Even if you know the students may forget within the next fifteen minutes, make a note to find the answer.

Here’s an example of how I would respond as a small group leader in my ministry if a student asked a question and I wasn’t sure how to respond:

You know what, that’s an awesome question.  I think it’s great that you asked.  Too often, Christians are afraid to ask questions because we don’t want people looking down on us, but you know what?  A lot of the time, it’s a question that other people are curious about as well.  Here’s the deal though…I don’t know the answer.  I could tell you the answer was “Green”, but that doesn’t even make sense.  Instead of just making something up, I tell you what, let’s find out the answer.  I’ll talk to Austin and see what he says, and he and I will figure it out.  That way, I’m not just making stuff up and giving you bad info.  So, great question, I’m going to write it down to ask.  And sometime this week, shoot me a text and remind me to follow up on it, deal?  Good job, thanks again for asking, that’s what this group is all about.  If we don’t ask questions, it makes growing really hard!

This post is part of an ongoing “What if…” series, addressing youth ministry questions typically within the context of small groups.  

Cabot Flyer Canvas

If you live in Cabot, you no doubt have noticed the posters, lawn signs, and hangers all throughout Cabot.  They advertise a community seminar on whether or not heaven is real!  These posters have definitely stirred my interest, and I thought I’d take a few minutes to share some observations on it!

But first, here’s a link to check out the flyer for yourself!

I’ll start with my hesitancies, and end with my pros!  Keep in mind, I tend to be more on the cynical side (maybe Ouachita did that to me?), and these are just thoughts.  I’m not saying I’m “for” or “against” the event.

Things that worry me:

  • A topic like this could be a huge hinderance on the church’s reputation in the community.  Obviously, it’s relying on the intrigue of the topic to draw a crowd, but it worries me that with a topic like heaven’s existence (and I can only assume “entry requirements” will be addressed as well) could be mishandled.  As a result, there could be a bad taste in the mouth of anyone wanting to “check out church.”
  • 3 nights of “What heaven is like” makes me lean a little to the idea that it could be drawing on more than just Scripture.  Again, a dangerous topic to do an outreach event on, and not base it primarily on Scripture.
  • The title of Mr. Hemphill’s book makes me a little nervous as well.
  • There’s no church or organization listed.  It seems obvious that whoever is behind this wanted to prevent anyone from feeling like it’s just another “church event”.  However, a lot can be said about the perspective a topic will be viewed from based on the denominational, religious, or even local church affiliation.  In addition, no church affiliation leaves no means of checking on details.
  • Speaking of checking on details, there’s a Facebook icon…but no link, no page name, no event title.  Just a button.  If I’m wanting more information about the event, I guess I just show up?
  • Childcare for which ages?
  • This is probably fairly petty, but any time I get a windshield flyer or something on my door, it seals the deal that I won’t be taking part.

“Pro’s”:

  • It’s obviously an event that God can, and hopefully will use!
  • Whoever the uncontactable entity behind the event is, they’ve obviously invested a decent amount of man hours and budget to advertising the event.  Every house in my neighborhood had a flyer on their door.
  • Hopefully it will stir up people who are hesitant to church to grab their curiosity.
  • Hopefully the topic will be handled well and be exegetically and theologically accurate.
  • Whoever is behind the event has a great opportunity to follow up with unchurched attendees, assuming the methods and manpower are in place.

 

 

FINAL THOUGHTS.

There are a few things I would have done differently, and I won’t be at any of the nights (partially due to schedule conflicts).  But, it’s an event I’ve put into my iCal.  I pray that God uses it to bring people from the community to get a taste of what the church should be like, and hopefully will bring unchurched people in and get them connected with believers.  I also pray that the topic is handled scripturally and with wisdom.

Beneath the Surface

Recently, I compiled a series of blog posts that have gotten my blog a lot of traffic.  There’s an iPhone game, Snappers, that causes more frustration than child-proof packaging.  So, I scoured Google, Yahoo Answers, and my game experience, and compiled a list of walkthroughs for the various levels.  As I was laying it out, I also carefully keyworded it and SEO’d the mess out of each blog post.  Now, when you google for Snappers levels, more often than not, this website will be one of the top 3 results.

Thanks to these 5 blog posts, check out my web traffic.


Pretty crazy, right?  Those are unique visitors (by IP address) per day at my website.  I uploaded the first of the walkthroughs on January 21.  Between then and the time of this blog post’s beginnings, I’ve had 37,796 individual people come to this site.

This kind of traffic landed me as one of the world’s most visited wordpress.com blog pages.

According to wordpress.com’s Blogs of the Day, I’m a high-influencing blogger.  This page varies in it’s order, but here’s the rank (the site lists the top 100) the time of this writing…

Yep…that’s right.  austinjwalker.wordpress.com right now is the #28 blog in the world (out of blogs using wordpress.com not .org or any other platform).  Let’s put this in a little bit of perspective, just to help out.  Scott Bourne hosts (or at least used to) a widely followed podcast called Photofocus, in which he answers emails on photography.  Scott has over 166k twitter followers, one of the best blogs on wordpress.com with posts featured in the worlds top blog posts of the day on a regular basis, and a wealth of knowledge in his field I will never be able to touch.  Here is where is blog was at…

I say all of this not to brag, but to set up this observation.  It would be natural to think that kind of traffic would increase influence, traction, and authority.  Twitter followers may jump, commenters may arise out of thin air, and the beginnings of a solid network may emerge.  But here’s another interesting stat for you…

Painfully revealing.  I’d love to hide these numbers.  I’d love to pretend the stats aren’t real.  The fact of the matter is, in the last 7 days, the unique readers of my true “content” (including my home page, about, and contact forms) are but .007758% of the traffic.  .007758% is nothing.

So why am I writing about this, how does this apply to anyone reading this (the .00000005% of my future blog traffickers)?  Here’s how it hits student ministry.  What do your numbers truly reflect?  When you’re talking with other student pastors, deacons, your pastor, or anyone you’re wanting to be looked up to by, how do your numbers come across?  Does your ministry attract a LOT of people?  If so, that’s awesome, and if done right, there’s a LOT of positives that can come out of that.  But looking beneath the surface, is there any depth?  Are you discipling students to pursue Christ and lean into His call on their life, or are you just satisfied to count their head at youth and let them chow down on pizza and warheads?

Are you making use of the numbers God has given you, or are you doing everything you can to gain accolades, with no meat beneath the surface?  Is there substance to accompany all the hype?

iPhone Snappers Guide Walkthrough Area 5

If you haven’t yet, check out the introduction to Snappers on the first walkthrough post.

Here’s the walkthrough for Area 5.

A1 B1 C1 D1 E1
A2 B2 C2 D2 E2
A3 B3 C3 D3 E3
A4 B4 C4 D4 E4
A5 B5 C5 D5 E5
A6 B6 C6 D6 E6

Read the full post »

Baptism Pictures

Ask any student pastor.  There are very few things that bring more joy to our hearts then students saying, “Austin…it’s time for me to be baptized.”  The conversations that follow, hearing their story, hearing how God intervened in their lives, and hearing their obedience is fuel for MONTHS for student pastors.   Read the full post »

Thoughts for Parents January 25

Tonight, we will wrap up our LEGACY series by baptizing a couple senior high students!  I can think of no better way to bookend a series on thinking about who you are becoming than to baptize students.  We’ll also have students write a “Legacy Letter” describing what they want their legacy through school to be.  They’ll get them back when they graduate high school.  Be praying for God to move in a powerful way tonight.  It’s going to be great!

Here are three things I need you parents to know!

  1. SENIOR HIGH WINTERCHILL.  We’ve had students sign up, but if your senior higher (for winterchill, 9-12 is senior high) has not signed up, DO NOT WAIT!  You’ll need the coupon code “Cabot” to get our special rate, but DO NOT WAIT!  We have small group leaders and adults ready to roll too, it’s going to be an awesome weekend.  CLICK HERE TO REGISTER.
  2. FSM UNITED.  Registration forms and $50 deposits are due tonight.  We may be able to take a few late students, but they’ll have to be wait listed after tonight with a low likelyhood of being able to go.  We’re going to be headed to Nashville from June 9-15.  If you need a form to register your student, email me and I’ll get it to you ASAP.
  3. NEXT SERIES.  For the month of February, we’ll be going through a series called “One Month to Live.”  We’ll be taking a look at how students would live their life differently if they knew that they only had one month left to live.  I’m excited to see how this rolls out of LEGACY, and plays with Ephesians 2 at Winterchill.  February is going to be a great month, and I wanted you to be in the loop

iPhone Snappers Guide Walkthrough Area 4

If you haven’t yet, check out the introduction to Snappers on the first walkthrough post.

Here’s the walkthrough for Area 4.

A1 B1 C1 D1 E1
A2 B2 C2 D2 E2
A3 B3 C3 D3 E3
A4 B4 C4 D4 E4
A5 B5 C5 D5 E5
A6 B6 C6 D6 E6

Read the full post »

iPhone Snappers Guide Walkthrough Area 3

If you haven’t yet, check out the introduction to Snappers on the first walkthrough post.

Here’s the walkthrough for Area 3.

A1 B1 C1 D1 E1
A2 B2 C2 D2 E2
A3 B3 C3 D3 E3
A4 B4 C4 D4 E4
A5 B5 C5 D5 E5
A6 B6 C6 D6 E6

Read the full post »

iPhone Snappers Guide Walkthrough Area 2

If you haven’t yet, check out the introduction to Snappers on the first walkthrough post.

Here’s the walkthrough for Area 2.

A1 B1 C1 D1 E1
A2 B2 C2 D2 E2
A3 B3 C3 D3 E3
A4 B4 C4 D4 E4
A5 B5 C5 D5 E5
A6 B6 C6 D6 E6

Read the full post »