GSM “Stories” Spring Retreat

What are the stories that motivate us? That awaken us? That stir a passion within us, for life? Stories of overcoming great odds? Works of fiction where we see ourselves in the heroes? Larger than life stories on the movie screens? A book in our hands?

Life is full of stories that push us forward and give us purpose, energy and affirmation. And when those stories help shape us, we in turn begin our very own story…

What stories are we telling? Our social media, our friends, our vocations, everything in our life is sharing a story with others. The stories that shape us shape the stories we tell…

The ultimate story is that of Jesus and the amazing thing is, he invites us into HIS story so we can begin to shape OUR story.

Using all of the stories that shape us, we will see how God works through the world around us to help shape us in to who he wants us to be. We will then look at the stories we are telling with our lives, and ask ourselves the important question…does my story point to Christ?

Join us at Hargis Retreat Center in Chelsea, Alabama, on April 14-16th for a wonderful time of RETREAT and relaxation together. We are thrilled to be going back to Hargis after several years off and we think this will be a holy and special time of rejuvenation, reenergizing and focus.

The cost is $100.00 per student and this covers all housing, meals at the retreat center, a t-shirt and transportation. More specific details will be sent out as the sign up begins to fill up.

We are in need of chaperones to drive/mentor and be present, so please consider signing up to Chaperone as well. The deadline to sign up is April 5th.

You can sign your teen up BY CLICKING RIGHT HERE and you can also sign yourself up as a Chaperone at the same link.

If you have any questions, ask away!

NEW Bible Class and more on the importance of Bible Class

We are excited about this next quarter Sunday AM class entitled “Christian Relationships”. Jarred Watson, Andrew Burdg and Andy Webster will be teaming up to walk our teens through ALL facets of Christian relationships, including relationships parents, siblings, friends and more.

What I love about this series is it is being taught by those that are IN Christian Relationships. To  not only HEAR information but to SEE this in real life is such a neat aspect of being part of a Body of Christ. I love that our teens can SEE that people are living the things we are teaching them!

This is a follow up series to our “Renovations of the Heart” series we just completed. We looked at what Christian Character and formation really is. It was easily one of our most in depth and intense classes we have had and the teens attention and focus was commendable.

I want to take a moment again to talk about Bible Class. I know calling it “bible class” immediately gives it that school type feeling, but for 45 minutes on Sunday and an hour or so on Wednesday, we have these very limited moments to talk about the spiritual growth we all so desperately want to see in our teens as well as seeing sustainable growth in their lives going forward. I understand all of the things that go through our teens minds. They are tired. They don’t have any “friends” in the room. They maybe don’t understand everything so this makes them not want to be in there. I (and the other teachers) try our hardest to make things as accessible and engaging as possible.

But I also want to focus on the fact that sometimes it is not always WHAT is being taught so much that SOMETHING in the name of Jesus is being taught. Let me explain…your teen will remember being a part of a class growing up. Of course, I’m not saying the content is not important at all. Of course not. It is incredibly important. But, our teens will not remember every single thing taught, immediately, with perfect retention. They may not remember the specifics, but they will remember some things, maybe even years down the road. They will recall sitting with peers, laughing, nodding in understanding or wondering what all of this means, even if they aren’t necessarily “friends” with the group. Youth Ministry isn’t always about friendship (though that is a beautiful result). Sometimes it’s simply being in a place with same aged people that allows you to feel comfortable and safe and ready to learn about who Jesus is.

And they will remember that even if they didn’t feel it in that moment, something important was happening. I know this because this is my experience. No, I can’t recall specifics of what I was taught in bible class on a deep level, but I can remember that it was important, my youth minister loved us and prepared every single time, regardless of who would show up, and I truly believe God BLESSES that time in his presence, even if it comes to fruition years down the road. Foundations are being laid in bible class that will most certainly help with growth for years in our teens.

And yes, I believe this pertains to all of us as adults too in our participation in things that lead to our spiritual growth. (In other words, GO TO CLASS PARENTS. Not because you have to, of course. Because you want to.)

You all know me well enough to know, that I do NOT see this as a legalistic thing that is tied to our salvation. I have no desire to force or shame anyone into participating ever. But I do want to assure you that focus, prayer and time are put into these classes so they can establish some foundational things in all of our teens lives and I truly believe it is a rewarding time together. 

In a year there are 18,980 hours (if you are getting 8 hours of sleep). You will spend about 432 hours at “church” events, including bible class, if you were to go to EVERYTHING, ALL THE TIME.

That is 2%.

So if you participated in 100% of church offerings, that is 2% of your entire time in a year. How does that 2% INFORM and TEACH the rest of the 98% of your time? I share this, as always, not to shame, but to challenge, to shift priorities in how we want our teens to grow and to understand exactly what we are working with here. Oh, and if you took out bible class…giving ourselves an hour on Sunday (and Wednesday)? 328 hours. 1.7% now. It is, indeed, important.

I am always praying for your families. I truly believe that life that follows Christ is the best. And I will take any time I can get in being a positive example for you all. Have a blessed day!

Spring 2023 Parent/Teen Meeting

We had a great Parent/Teen meeting last night. We covered a lot of information but we also spent time talking about Spiritual Growth. While we have “dates and events” below, we discussed how none of these things exist in a vacuum. Our desire, as a ministry, is to grow to know Jesus more. We cannot stress the importance of bible class, life groups, and all of the things we do together. Below is the basic information to get you started on your planning! Sign ups will go live on all of these events very soon and you can actually begin making payments if you wish to. Also, make sure you contact me about our sibling discount.

-Faith Fill Up Service – March 4
-March 16 – Spring Break Hang out at OWA – Details to be determined but the date is set
-April 7-8 – Leadership Training for Christ – Contact Seth or Jen Kughn for details on hotels
-April 14-16 – Spring Retreat at Hargis Retreat Center in Chelsea, Alabama. Cost: $100
-May 28 – SUMMER KICKOFF (Details TBD)
-June 6-8 – Vacation Bible School – A great time to Serve our Church!
-June 9-11 – Summer Retreat White Water Rafting Trip to Ocoee, TN. Cost: $100 per student
-June 19-24 – IMPACT at Lipscomb University – Cost $200 per student
-July 5-14th – YOUTH ENRICHMENT Meal Prep Service
-July 16-21st – GCBC CAMP – Cost $150 per Camper

Due to flight cost and scheduling, we will not be doing a ROATAN Mission Trip this year. We are excited about the Israel trip in 2024 and will be looking at a great mission for us to participate in for 2024. 

On the Importance of Bible Class!

We have started a NEW CLASS SERIES, which you can CLICK RIGHT HERE and see that information as well as a few more thoughts on Bible Class. I want to keep this up though, as we continue to focus on the priorities of spiritual growth in our teens lives.

I want to take a moment and put some emphasis on these times of teaching, gathering, worship and learning. We tend to naturally focus on the large events and the large gatherings. Retreats, camps, trips, etc. These mountain top moments are essential and vastly important. But true, sustainable growth happens in the “mundane”, “ordinary” moments of life. And this is where our regular times of meeting come in.

We don’t come together for bible class because we “have to” or because we are “required”. We come together to learn and grow because life happens in the quiet moments of our day to day lives. It happens in our text message conversations and our social media presence. It comes in how we treat each other and talk to each other. It comes in our personal times of reading the Word, being in prayer and our personal spiritual growth. Our bible classes and life groups are times that we sharpen that, refine that, challenge ourselves and each other and work towards growth.

I ask that you consider that, not only in your teens lives, but in YOUR lives. Spiritual growth will begin in the home based on what is prioritized and what is modeled.

We begin a new year soon and this is as good a time as any to begin focusing in on these moments. See you soon!