Listen Closely

Listen Closely

haleybiopic

Haley Lavergne participated in the Student Leader Apprentice (SLA) program for two years: 2012 in Nashville, TN and 2013 in Glorieta, NM. She is currently studying at University of Louisiana at Lafayette. In her spare time, you will find her outside in a hammock immersed in a good book or creating art with various mediums.

 

“Welcome to SLA, where questions about the future aren’t allowed and getting thrown outside of your comfort zone is guaranteed.”

Although I wasn’t greeted with these exact words when arriving at Glorieta, they certainly sum up my experience. I arrived asking the Lord to move in mighty ways and left in awe of how He exceeded my expectations. Being quiet and being a friend to listen and encourage was the trend for the entire two weeks. It sounds small because I am a small part of what God did. He doesn’t need me but He chooses to use me. What a beautiful God we serve.  I was given the opportunity to watch God use something as simple as truly listening, in such a huge way as He began to heal hurting people. All the while, I had a front row seat listening to fellow SLAers, staffers, campers, site friends, and most importantly: the Lord. I was continually taken back by our innate desire to be heard and known. It was simultaneously: overwhelming, wonderful, powerful and humbling. SLA’s focus on service leadership taught me how truly listening and serving the people in front of me are crucial.

James 5:16a says, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” I think much of the healing James talks about also comes from listening. I learned that that’s where ministry happens: in intentional moments packed with sincere love and genuine care for God’s people. Jesus took the time to not only heal people’s physical needs, but He took care of them as human beings with the desire to be loved. He saw desires to be seen, accepted, and deeply known. It went beyond physical healing. He went deeper to care for emotions. He loved past the surface. He loves deep and He loves well. I learned about that at SLA and it is something I am grateful to say I’m still learning.

Holiday Traditions

Holiday Traditions

Now that December is here, the Christmas spirit is filling the FUGE Camps office. Here are some of our favorite holiday traditions.

Holiday Traditions Blog from Fuge Camps on Vimeo.

Prayer Experience

Prayer Experience

This week’s Ministry Tip comes from Jonathan Espy. He is studying student ministry at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and has worked with student ministries in different capacities for several years. In 2012/2013, he served as the interim leader for the high school student ministry at Olive Baptist Church in Pensacola, FL. This post is a prayer experience that he led with the group.

During my time at Olive Baptist Church in Pensacola, I led high school students through a series on Wednesday nights about renewing our minds.  We focused on different aspects including students’ perspectives of who God is, not conforming to the world, and what to focus our minds on. The last week of the series, I set up a prayer experience for the students to help recap what we had covered and to give a way to practice renewing our minds through scripture and different actions of prayer.  I used six stations. To set this up, I printed the instructions for each station (in large print), posted them each on a piece of butcher paper, and laid them around the room. We opened the night with a few songs of worship. Then, I led them into the time of prayer. We took about 30-40 minutes for this part of the night.

Supplies: Bibles for those without (I didn’t want them using their phones for this, but that was just my preference), markers, pens, note cards, scraps of paper, butcher paper/poster board

Prayer Experience (Renewing your Mind)
Instructions: Use this time to renew your mind through prayer and meditation. Don’t talk to one another as we do this but spend it talking with God. Go from station to station (no particular order), read the instructions and pray as guided. You will need a Bible for every station so grab one here if you don’t have one.  You don’t have to stay at the station once you read the instructions so feel free to move about the room. Take this seriously and do what is asked at each station, even if it makes you a little uncomfortable.  Really use this time to focus your mind on Christ.

  1. How Great is our God: Renewing your mind starts with your idea of God; who God is to you.  It is important to make sure your view of God matches with that of Scripture. Read Psalm 97 and take some time to meditate on who God is to you. Then write down words that describe the greatness of God.
  2. Living Sacrifices: When we recognize who God is, our desire becomes to worship and serve Him.  Romans 12:1 tells us to offer our lives as “living sacrifices” to God as an act of worship.  Where you are, kneel before God as a sign of surrender and worship. Pray and ask God to show you how to be a living sacrifice to Him. Tell God specific parts of your life that you desire to use for His glory.
  3. Things of the World: Romans 12:2 says to not conform any longer to the patterns of this world.  Take a note card (or use the back of the one from the “Think on these things” station) and write out “Things of the world” at the top. Then make a list of some patterns of the world. Read over your list and pray that God will help you recognize these patterns as worldly, that you may no longer conform to these things. Keep this with you as a reminder to not conform to the world.
  4. Think on these things: Read Philippians 4:8.  This gives us a list of things that should guide our thoughts.  Take a note card (or use the back of the one from the “Things of the world” station) and write “Think on these things” at the top.  Write out the characteristics of what to think on from this scripture (Whatever is true, noble, etc…). Think about what guides your thoughts. Do your thoughts fall into these characteristics? Pray that God will help your mind and your thoughts to be glorifying to Him. Keep this with you as a reminder to let these things guide your thoughts.
  5. Give us Clean Hands: As we renew our minds, we realize God’s greatness. We also recognize our sin.  Read Psalm 24. This reminds us of God’s authority over all things and points out that God is holy and above all things. Our sin keeps us from God.  We know that through Christ our sins have been washed clean and we have been given the opportunity to have a relationship with God. As seen in verses 3-6, when we recognize the greatness of this gift through Christ, we should desire to live with “clean hands and pure hearts.” Thank God for the great gift of salvation. As you pray, hold out your hands in front of you. This symbolizes having clean hands.  Think about the things in your life that make your hands and heart unclean (sin). Ask God to help you live out your faith with clean hands and a pure heart.
  6. By Him and For Him:  Turn to Colossians 1.  In this passage, the Supremacy of Christ is shown. Read verses 15-23.  We see that Christ holds all things together. Verse 16 says that all things were created “by Him and for Him.”  As we renew our minds and present ourselves as living sacrifices, we must remember that our lives are for Christ.  Think for a moment from God’s perspective. How do you think He would have us live our lives? Take a piece of paper and write a short mission statement you think God would give His people. This should be a sentence or two that tells what guides your life and decisions. Write the statement for the purpose of letting ALL THINGS in your life point to Christ.  Read and pray over what you have written and ask God to let this mission (His mission) be evident in the way you live.
The Role of an Adult in the Life of a Teenager

The Role of an Adult in the Life of a Teenager

janas

Today’s guest post comes from one of our favorites,  Jana Spooner.  Jana worked with FUGE for 12 years, and now serves as an associate publisher of women’s books with B&H Publishing Group at LifeWay. Jana is wife to Michael, mom to Abigail, and student ministry volunteer at Central Baptist Hendersonville, TN. She loves all things Texas, coffee, and mexican food.

 

I have spent most of my adult life working with teenagers in some capacity. Sometimes that was Sunday school teacher. Sometimes it was camp staffer. Sometimes it was mentor, worship leader, chaperon, host home mom, lock-in supervisor, homework helper, you name it. I love them.

I love how awkward they are in middle school and how they literally do not stop moving. Ever.

I love how they think they know everything one day and the next day the whole world is a blank slate again.

I love how dramatic they are. Seriously. They are dramatic because everything is important to them. EVERYTHING is SUPER IMPORTANT! Like, OMG…

I love getting texts from them where I have to enlist google to decipher what all the abbreviations mean…IDK what UR talking about…

I’ll be the first one to admit that I feel like an unlikely candidate for student ministry. Suffice it to say, I am not cool. In fact, I am pretty much the opposite of cool. I am not loud or crazy. I’m not silly. I dress conservatively and am fairly reserved most of the time. My kid goes to bed at 8:00 on the dot so my idea of “night life” is limited to Netflix or a good book. And I am perfectly ok with that!

Not only am I not cool, I’m a rule enforcer. At camp, I knock on your door at 6:45 a.m. to make sure you will make it to breakfast on time. I make you drink water and eat vegetables. I don’t let you go back for a second bowl of ice cream. I will shush you.

I don’t make the mistake of thinking I’m cool and that’s why teenagers would like me. So why would they? Because I’m an adult. And they need adults. They need their parents, first and foremost. But even when their parents are godly and loving, they still need other adults. They need people who will love them the way Christ loves them. They need to see what it looks like to live out your faith in your 20′s, 30′s, 40′s and so on. They need to see that a relationship with Christ extends beyond the walls of the church.

They don’t necessarily need a buddy. They have friends speaking all kinds of messages into their lives every day. They don’t need more of that. They need adults who will speak truth. And who will listen. And love them and value them. That’s why it’s ok that I’m not cool. I don’t need to be. That’s not my role. My role is to model a life fully lived for Christ and the Gospel and to spur them on to do the same.

Ministry Tip – Games: POLE-ish Olympics

Ministry Tip – Games: POLE-ish Olympics

Today, we bring the first posting for Ministry Tips in the form of a game to use with your student group. This game comes from my days as a student in my church’s youth group. A few of my friends and I were goofing off and unintentionally created a game that proved to be loved by our group for the remainder of my school years.

We’ve included a video to explain the game and give some visual aid.  Enjoy.

- Jonathan Espy

Ministry Tips – POLE-ish Olympics from Fuge Camps on Vimeo.