Flower City Review
The end of March brought spring break and with it, Flower City Work Camp. Once again, this mission to local Rochesterians was a huge success! Pearce sent 23 students and numerous adults who worked on homes and shared Christ in deep and purposeful ways to many in our city. Each year, this ministry proves to be a fantastic way to teach our students how to practically live out their faith and to worship with hundreds of other local students. Thank you to all who participated this year, both students and adults.
Junior High Overnight
Each year, we take our junior teens (7th-8th graders) for an overnight to Hickory Hill. It is a wonderful time to get away and escape everyday life, laugh, and enjoy some time with friends. While the trip was only 24 hours long, we played a lifetime’s worth of Dodgeball, ate fantastic meals provided by Karen Hopkins, and had some excellent times in the Word. This year, we also brought along a couple of our seniors to act as junior leaders. This proved to be an exceptional idea, as the seniors really helped the young teens feel accepted, and it allowed the old guys like me some respite from having to play Dodgeball!
The Years Keep Rolling
The end of April always means the end of our Wednesday night programs. Inevitably, I am asked each year why we end so early. There are a number of reasons for this decision. First, it is a very busy time of year for our students with finals, AP exams, prom, sports, and all that comes with the end of the school year. We don’t want to put students in a place where they have to decide between studying and being at teens. The second reason is that our leaders give a tremendous amount of time throughout the year. They lead Wednesday nights from September-May, and then Tuesday nights all summer for TNT. By ending the last week of April, I am able to give them a 6-8 week break. I have such an appreciation for what our leaders do, and I know that we would never be able to pull off all that we do without our volunteers. The last thing I want to do is burn them out. This year, we ended our Wednesday night programs with an evening of bowling and an evening of fun teen challenges: shaving cream, eggs, and squirt guns, oh my!
Be sure to take note of the dates for this summer’s TNTs!
- June 28: Pool Party at Kuhlkin’s, 6:30-8pm
- July 5: No TNT (4th of July Week)
- July 12: Picnic at Hamlin Beach (Guys bring soda, Girls chips/cookies), meet at Pearce at 5:30pm, return by 8pm
- July 19: Seabreeze Night, families are welcome, students under 7th grade must be accompanied by adult; cost: $20; meet at Pearce at 5:30pm, return by 10:30pm
- July 26: Pool Party at Emerson’s, 6:30-8pm
- August 2: No TNT (Algonquin Canoe Trip)
- August 9: No TNT
- August 16: Whiffleball/Kickball and Ice Cream Sundaes at Black Creek Park, 6:30-8
- August 23: Club House Go-Carts and Mini Golf, cost: $20; meet at Pearce at 5:30pm, return at 8:30pm
MOMS: 4 THINGS YOUR SON SECRETLY WISHES YOU KNEW ABOUT HIS TEMPTATIONS
As many of you know, we spent a Wednesday evening and a Sunday morning talking about sex and dating in the month of February. My goal was simply to give our kids some things to begin to think about. I hope looking at where they want to be in 10 years helps connect the dots to how their decisions today can impact their dreams for the future. I also challenged them to not think of themselves as pure but as striving for purity. As we know, none of us are without sin. The biggest hang-up I see with teens in this area is when they fail. If they cross the line that they believe God has for their lives, they live with that guilt. That is not from the Lord. I would rather they realize there is grace. They need to pick themselves up, receive forgiveness, and get back after the work of becoming holy.
As you may remember, I posted on Facebook the week of these talks to inform parents of what we would be talking about. My desire was that it would provide an open door for you as parents to be able to have conversations with your children. There are a ton of resources out there for you. One that I have found to be very helpful, especially as a parent of teen boys, has been http://www.xxxchurch.com/. XXXChurch is an organization committed to helping teens and adults navigate sexual temptation and the lure of pornography. They also have a fantastic, albeit often controversial, ministry to porn stars. I don’t agree with everything they have put out, but by and large I believe they are loving people the way Christ would. I found a recent article they posted for moms of teen boys to be particularly interesting. Shaunti Feldhahn states, “Even after years of researching what is in the heart and mind of men and boys, I still wasn’t quite ready when my pre-teen son began struggling with the same visual temptations as everyone else! In honor of all boys who want to do the right thing, here are four things sons secretly wish their moms knew about their struggle: It starts young. It is almost an overwhelming curiosity—and temptation. It is a temptation the honorable boys do not want. It is something they cannot confront well without our help.” You can check out the rest of the article here: http://strongermarriages.com/moms-4-things-your-son-secretly-wishes-you-knew-about-his-temptations/.
Our children, our boys and girls, need our help and our understanding. They live in an over-sexualized culture. Don’t miss the opportunities that come up to engage your young ones in these conversations.
The Cost of Fellowship
At the beginning of each year, Pearce teens traditionally begin to think about our senior retreat. For years we scheduled these weekends in the fall, amidst the busiest time of the year for most teens and families: we were inviting them to come away with us for a weekend of rest, relaxation, and reconnecting with Christ. It was always a double-edged sword, because often those who needed the rest the most were unable to come due to their schedules. About six years ago, we moved the senior teen retreat to the end of January. The Student Ministry team firmly believes that the lives of our students are over-scheduled with sports, musicals, Boy Scouts, Young Life, dance, work, homework, and copious other activities. To speak counter to this, we try to provide a retreat that is exactly that…a retreat. This year, we had three discussion times around the idea of Grabbing the Cup, Lifting the Cup, and Drinking the Cup. Other than these times and our meals, the weekend had very little structure. Kids took naps, watched movies, played board games, and played various sports in the gym. Karen Hopkins cooked snacks with the teens one afternoon, and I fried 20 lbs. of chicken wings on Saturday night. I’m not sure the students came home with any great spiritual revelations, but we do hope they realize that fellowship is important, and in order to really hear the voice of God, sometimes you have to remove the noise of life. Enjoy the photos—it was a fantastic weekend!
Hide the Word of God in your Heart
Psalm 119:11 speaks of David hiding the words of God in his heart that he may not sin. In the interest of transparency, I confess I am not diligent with my scripture memorization. When I speak with those in the Student Ministry who participate in Quizzing, I am often put to shame. I was reminded of this again as Pearce hosted the January conference tournament. Our students have been hard at work studying and memorizing the book Acts. This group of about 18 junior and senior high students is impressive, to say the least. They are not only learning what God’s Word says, but they are learning ways to apply it to their lives, and it shows. If you run into one of the Pearce Quizzers, feel free to ask them to recite Acts to you; or even better, let them know you are praying for them as they prepare to compete in the National Tournament in Seattle this June.
The Cost of Serving
Many see spring break as a time to get away, to go lay on the beaches of Florida or some other exotic vacation destination. As someone who recently returned from a week in Mexico, I can attest to the value of a warm vacation in the midst of harsh Rochester winters. However, there is also a group who has decided to spend $130 to go and serve the people of our city. This year, Flower City Work Camp has enlisted 730 students and over 300 adults throughout the Rochester area as volunteers. They will be going to various homes around Rochester and spending three days doing “construction,” Side Walk Clubs, basketball and soccer camps, and worshiping together in the evenings. This ministry is in its thirty-first year and is one of the best pictures of the body of Christ I have ever witnessed. It includes people from 60 different churches and denominations serving alongside one another and loving the people of our city. Pearce is sending 23 students, six site leaders, two overnight leaders, and four kitchen helpers. As they come to mind, please be praying for their safety, for the witness that is being given to the home owners and the children in the neighborhood, and be praying for the spiritual growth in our students.
Dinner is Served
Our annual Progressive Dinner took place December 13 and was a wonderful evening. This year, almost 60 students toured close to 20 homes of Pearce families, but we added a bit of a twist. The ministries at Pearce have been actively seeking ways to provide more “intergenerational” experiences. As part of our Progressive Dinner, we specifically asked for hosts who might have little to no interaction with our teens. It was a wonderful experience. Our students were able to hear Bill Christopher share his testimony, got to experience food from Poland and Latvia while dining with the Vitolins, and got to share appetizers with an entire small group meeting at Char and Roe Kuhlkin’s home. It was a truly wonderful way to celebrate God’s acts of salvation in our lives this year, as well as in the lives of our hosts. Thank you to all of you who participated!
Don’t Even Try to Escape!
Every year we take the teens on a weekend retreat in January. Every year I have students who say “um, I don’t know, I’ve got stuff to do, the dog needs a bath, I have people to text with, and TV to watch, I can’t go.” Every year I fight these excuses, and every year the kids who end up going say it was an awesome trip. This year, let’s just skip the excuses and my rebuttals. Sign up now! This weekend is a gift, and an opportunity to escape the busyness of life to play, learn, and laugh with your friends. We leave January 22 and return the afternoon of January 24. The cost is $80, but money will never keep anyone from coming. See Pastor Mike to sign up.
The Christmas Blues
Each month, I am trying to provide a resource for parents. This month, I found a short article regarding helping our students move back into “normal” life after a vacation full of digital media, movies, and video games. Check out the link HERE for some fantastic hints on how we can help our kids navigate these first few weeks of January.
Out in the Cold—For Real
It rained and snowed on Friday night, November 13, this year. Ask any of the 27 teens who slept out in cardboard boxes on the front lawn of Pearce and they will tell you: it was cold and windy. They will also tell you that it was educational, informative, and fulfilling. We held our annual Project Out in the Cold overnight, an event designed to raise awareness in our community about the issue of poverty right here in Monroe County. Guests from Straight from the Heart Ministries and Urban Choice Charter School shared with the students about what life is like for those living without enough. Not only did our students learn, they survived an evening in the cold and raised over $1,700 in the process, which was divided among Straight from the Heart, Urban Choice, and the Open Door Mission.
Small Groups Doing Big Things
One week out of each month, our Sunday Small Groups split up and take a week off from teaching to do something creative. Some weeks, it’s Chuck Cockrell cooking pancakes for the teens, some weeks it’s just discussion. Recently, the groups have gotten the idea to do something for someone else. Projects have included making Christmas cards for those at Pearce who are unable to make it to church, and building bluebird houses to be auctioned off at the Young Life auction for Al & Stacy Anderson. I am so proud of the hearts of these students. They are learning what it takes to be fully engaged in the life of the church.
Boxing–A Church Service
I want to give a special thanks to Capt. Bob, Duane Eich, and the rest of the crew picture here, for their efforts in moving over 1,000 boxes from Parmerter Chapel to the Family Life Center. As many of you know, Pearce packed over 1,000 Thanksgiving boxes this year. What many don’t know is the enormous amount of prep time, coordination, and logistics that went into making it a success. This small crew spent about one and a half hours simply moving boxes from one location to another. I love seeing the intergenerational spirit here at Pearce.
Put That Thing Down
As a pastor, I come across numerous resources to help with teens and parents. As a new feature in my Musings, I am going to pass on more of these resources to you. This month, I found an excerpt entitled “Put That Thing Down! And more things you would like to say to your kids about digital media.” It is from the Fuller Youth Institute, which, admittedly, is one of my favorite resources. The article is the result of interviews they did with parents; the end result is a new book for parents called Right Click. I have pre-ordered a copy and will give you more details once I have read it. This article focuses on the idea of “Supervision, not surveillance.” I think that perspective is excellent. We want our kids to integrate and be successful in our world but also to remain faithful to their Creator Father. We can’t remove them from digital media or remove digital media from our world, so we have to be diligent in helping our kids learn to navigate this world in safe and effective ways. For more on this article, check out https://fulleryouthinstitute.org/blog/put-that-thing-down.
Raised in a Barn!
Each year around Halloween, we hold a combined Junior and Senior High Barn Party at the Morton’s. This year’s party included a bonfire, a fantastic hay ride, some goofy games, and (of course) cows. It was a fantastic opportunity for the leaders and teens to socialize, while enjoying a taste of farm life.
When people ask me what my favorite part of my job is, I always tell them “hanging out with the teens.” Teenagers are so interesting to me: they love adventure, they are willing to take risks, and they often tend to be transparent. They will tell you what they are thinking; and they will also let you know when they don’t believe or trust what you are saying to them. The typical Wednesday night for our teens includes a guided topical discussion and some down time to simply unplug from the weekly schedule of school, sports, and work. When you ask people today how they are doing, the standard response is “I’m busy.” The Pearce teens are working hard to be counter to this culture. Our Wednesday night program is an opportunity for teens to have an hour and a half in their week where they aren’t overly scheduled. It’s an hour and a half when kids are allowed to stop the craziness and actually be kids again. If you have an interest in being a kid again, get ahold of me or one of the other volunteers. We’d love to talk with you about volunteering with us.
Time for Breakfast
About 10 years ago, Greg Harp and I began a guys’ breakfast club. It was simple–pick teen guys up before school, pray for the meal and eat a hearty North Chili Family Restaurant breakfast, then take the guys to school. The day and time have changed over the years, as have the faces, but we continue to meet. On a typical Tuesday, we have roughly 20 guys; and we have recently added some “older” gentlemen, giving us a true intergenerational look. Our goal is to reach the occupancy number at NCFR, but for now we are enjoying our time together and our awesome waitress, Sarah. If you have a high-school son, or even a neighbor or friend who would be interested in joining us, let me or one of the other volunteers know.
Dates to Know!
Flower City Work Camp is March 28-April 1, for Junior & Senior Teens. If you are an adult interested in volunteering, contact me ASAP. If your student is interested in participating, we will need to have their paperwork collected by January 1. More information can be found at http://www.flowercityworkcamp.org/
Out in the Cold is November 13-14, for Junior & Senior Teens. Information is available in the teen area. Be sure to be getting sponsors.
Progressive Dinner is December 13, for Senior Teens only. It’s hard to believe, but we are already starting to look for host homes for this Christmas-themed dinner. Contact me if you would like to be a part of this evening.
Catching up with alumni
Each year, we graduate any number of students from the Pearce Teen Ministry. Our goal is not just to get our students through high-school and prepared for college, but to connect them to Christ and the Church at large for their lifetimes. Therefore, ministry and relationships don’t end at graduation. They change some, and eventually become like friendships, but they never really end. It is always encouraging to see alumni who are living their lives for Christ. This summer has been especially sweet for Jackie and me as we have heard from a number of our past students who have shared with us the influence that our ministry has had on them. In a conversation with one kid (she’s now 30, but will always be our “kid”) she mentioned the impact we had on her life. I said, “Really? We really didn’t feel like we knew what we were doing 15 years ago.” She responded, “The consistency with which you lived out your faith as you lived your lives spoke everything I needed to hear.” Jackie and I were immensely blessed and humbled by this. Keep praying for our students, and keep living consistent lives–you never know who might be watching!
Speaking of Alumni
My younger son, Charlie (Boomer), heard about two Pearce Alumni that had trained with Jim Heeks in the Food Service Ministry. Josh Hunt and more recently Joe Hunt (no relation) both worked under the watchful eye of Jim in the kitchen, and Josh has now gone on to be a chef with Wegmans. Charlie loves to cook and thinks he might like to be a chef when he grows up. Hearing this, Jim invited him to come and begin the mentoring process. It is a joy to be a part of a church that has such cool opportunities and that has so many adults interested in having an impact on our students. Pictured above is Charlie working side by side with Monty Vitolins as they wash dishes from a Wednesday night dinner. The DNA of serving others for Christ is being passed on to the next generation at Pearce.
Pearce Teens–Bigger and Better
The teen program at Pearce recently kicked off their fall semester with a scavenger hunt, affectionately called “Bigger or Better.” The idea is simple: we break the teens up into groups, give each group a paperclip, and then we turn them loose on the neighborhood. They go from door to door offering their paperclip for something bigger or better then take that item to the next house. Above is the result of a half-hour’s worth of trades. It’s a great way for the teens to get out, do something crazy, and see what they can grow a simple paperclip into. The best items are being stored to sell at the spring Mission Garage Sale!
13 Pearce Students Kidnapped!
Each year, a new group of high-school freshmen enter Pearce Senior Teens. We strive to help them get acclimated quickly and to help them get established in the group as early in the year as possible. One of the ways we do this is with our annual “Senior Sneak Out.” This year, eight seniors met at Pearce at 6:15am on a Saturday morning to carry out our crazy scheme. The idea is to visit the homes of the freshmen, go into their bedrooms, wake them up, throw them in the car (while still in their pj’s), and bring them to my house for a special breakfast for seniors and freshmen. This has become a wonderful tradition that gives our 9th graders an immediate connection with our 12th graders. It is a special time of fellowship, storytelling, and prayer. Each year, we hear how much the freshmen look forward to their chance to be the kidnappers. Enjoy the photos–and no, none of them were given the opportunity to get dressed, brush teeth, or comb their hair!
As August comes to a close, I find myself reflecting a bit on the last two months. It has been a worldwide whirlwind! There were so many conversations, so many adventures, so many relationships, and so many memories, that a couple of paragraphs will not do it justice. However, as the old adage goes, a picture is worth a thousand words; and so this month, I submit to you a couple thousand words and I encourage you to ask the teens who went to Romania, Algonquin, or any of our TNT events, what their impressions were.
Romania: July 17-29
This was the 4th teen mission trip in my tenure at Pearce, and our 3rd trip to Romania. Each trip has left me feeling like “This was our best team yet!” and this year was no different. I was so proud of and impressed with the Pearce team. They loved each other and the Romanians so well and they were quick to build relationships and serve others. While in country, we ran a day camp that included teaching wiffleball, photography, and self-defense. The remainder of our time was spent encouraging the church in Sigishora and building unity in the youth group there. One of my highlights from this trip was watching Nolan Hopkins (pictured above with two young students) grow from a child who traveled to Romania with his parents, to being a contributing member of our team. He has matured greatly and was such a blessing to me and to the other leaders. He gained the new nickname “Spreadsheet” due to his keen interest in Duane Eich’s tracking of the trip’s income, expenses, and receipts. I should also thank the incredible team of leaders who made this trip such a success. Duane Eich, Karen & Maurice Hopkins, Diane Johnson, and Beth Honan are among the greatest gifts that have been given to me in ministry.
Algonquin: August 2-7
I say it every year, but I think it bears repeating: our Spiritual Disciplines Canoe Trip to Algonquin is one of the highlights of our ministry year and everyone should go at least once. This year, our group consisted of 23 students and leaders. It was a fabulous week of community building and growth in Christ. There is something about being away from phones, computers, and television that helps us to focus and really hear God’s voice. Add to that the daily physical challenges of paddling, carrying canoes and gear on long portages, and the requirements of setting up camp and cooking meals outside each day and you begin to appreciate what we have in life. I believe this trip helps to teach our students how to work as a community, how to achieve some impressive goals, and how to love people well—even people who haven’t bathed in a week! If you get an opportunity to join us in the future, don’t pass it up. It is an incredibly enriching and life-changing trip.
Tuesday Night Thing (TNT)
Again this year, it seemed we had to battle the elements every Tuesday night. Our efforts to get together for some evenings of fun and fellowship were repeatedly hampered by the rain. What is it with precipitation and Tuesday nights? We did manage to get in a picnic at Black Creek Park, a couple of pool parties, a night at Seabreeze, and an evening at the Clubhouse. I love being with teens on their turf. These young folks are able to simply be themselves. We laughed, we got caught up on life, and we created some great memories—all things that I hope propel us into the fall ministry season. Thanks to all of those who hosted or drove for us this year.
It is incomprehensible to me that we are at the beginning of September already. There is something comforting about the routine of the school year. I enjoy knowing I have regular meetings I need to prepare for. Our Wednesday nights (6:30-8pm, beginning September 16) and our Sunday Morning Small Groups (9-10:15am, beginning September 20) are weekly touchpoints that allow the volunteer leaders, the students, and me to connect. In addition to these times, we plan numerous special events like our service projects at Chili Commons, our fall barn party, overnight retreats, and the traditional progressive dinner. To help with keeping families informed, I have made efforts to provide a number of different forms of communication. Join the pearceteen page or the pearceparent page on Facebook, check the Pearce website frequently, and be sure to get on our texting service by texting PearceTeens to 68398. Additionally, you may email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, call/text my cell phone at 585-747-8407, or call the church at 585-594-9488. If there are other ways in which I can better communicate with you, please don’t hesitate to let me know. My team and I are looking forward to a great fall serving students and their families, and participating in what God is doing in their lives.
Quizzing Hits the Road
After a full year of studying and competing, it all comes down to this: Quizzing Nationals. This year’s tournament was held in Spring Arbor, Michigan and our team represented Pearce and Christ with excellence. The experience was much more than the competition; it was team bonding, the opportunity to meet new quizzers from around the country, and the chance to become reacquainted with old friends. I am so proud of how well our team did in the tournament; but even more so, I am proud of the faithful followers of Christ that they have become.
Pearce Team Results at Nationals:
- Senior Teen Rookie Division—2nd place: Jonah Spencer
- Young Teen Rookie Division—5th place: Natalie Beguhl, Josiah Honan, Morgan Leupold
- Senior Teen Veteran Division—“Sweet 16” honors (placed as a top 16 team): Hannah Distaffen, Rebekah Distaffen, Michelle Garrett, Noah Spencer
TNT—Tuesday Night Thing or Tuesday Night Torrential Rains!
This summer’s TNTs are shaping up to be similar to last summer’s: WET! For our first TNT, we enjoyed a picnic at Black Creek Park. It was a fantastic way to introduce the incoming 7th graders, however the following week’s trip to Seabreeze was rained out. Instead, we journeyed to Tinseltown to see “Inside Out” and rescheduled Seabreeze for the following week. The following week to Seabreeze was also a wash out and we are now rescheduled for August 18. Some summers are just this way, but it doesn’t make it any easier! Trying to make the best decisions around these events can be stressful and trying to disseminate information to 70 families in a short amount of time is not easy either. Parents, you can help by joining the Pearce Parents Facebook page, having your teens join the Pearce Teen page, and/or signing up for text service by texting Pearceteens to 68398. Typically, I will make a decision by 4pm on the day of an event. If you don’t hear anything by then, don’t hesitate to call or text me at 585-747-8407.
Wolves are known to hunt in groups or packs. Together, they are able to conquer larger prey that they would otherwise have to avoid. Years ago, I befriended Sean Hardy and began the process of discipling him. Part of that process, in time, became him investing in someone else. That person was Aaron Curtis, who, in turn, has begun to invest in my son, Jake. Together the four of us have become a wolf pack of sorts, as we look to conquer the things of this world that individually might not be possible. God has given us a gift in this community. My vision for ministry is that we each would be able to do this. This is what healthy, intergenerational ministry looks like. These men have become my friends, despite our vast age differences. We look to each other for support, community, and wisdom. In June, I was honored to bring Aaron and Honna Lusk together in marriage; and in the coming years, it will be the honor of our wolf pack to support and encourage them in this adventure. If you’re not in a wolf pack, be praying about someone you can invest your life in and watch what God does!
No Musings—Gone Moosing
It has been my practice the last two years to submit my Musings on a monthly basis. Due to two weeks in Romania, a week in Algonquin, and a week of vacation, this year I am combing my July and August issues. Enjoy and we’ll be back in September.
Another great season of ministry came to a close on April 29. As most of you know, we end our regular Wednesday night programming the last week of April so our students can concentrate on finals, proms, concerts, and sports. It also allows our volunteer leaders to have some time to rest and recover before TNT (Tuesday Night Thing) begins at the end of June, and before the craziness of summer comes upon us. Each year, we try to close out the ministry season with something fun. This year’s final night was a trip to SkyZone for fun on the trampolines. We had a great year of ministry that included numerous laughs, some tears, deep meaningful conversations, and spiritual growth. I know I speak for the volunteers when I say we feel incredibly blessed to be able to share in the lives of these amazing young folks. We are so proud of who they are and the things they are accomplishing.
With June comes our annual Mission Golf Tournament. This year, the tournament will be held June 27 at Salmon Creek Country Club. The shot-gun start will be at 1:15pm, followed by dinner. Don’t miss this day of laughs, missed shots, and fellowship. Yes, it is a competition, but we are not a competitive bunch. Ringers are welcome. Join us for a great cause–this year’s money will go directly to support the Teen Mission Trip to Romania in July. Stop by the table in the atrium to sign up, download a registration form here (insert link), or see Maurice Hopkins or Duane Eich for more information.
Each year, we close out the school year with a celebration of what God has done in our church. Specifically, we honor our 1st graders and 6th graders with new Bibles, and our seniors with a graduation gift. Summer Celebration will be June 21, with a single Sunday service at 10am, and a picnic and free concert to follow. We have 12 seniors graduating, and this year’s gift is a new book by author Jay Payleitner: If God Gave Your Graduation Speech. It is full of bits of advice and wisdom from God’s Word. Join us as we mark these milestones in our student’s lives.
Get Ready For Summer
For many, summer is a time to slow down, lie on a hammock, and drink lemonade. But for the Pearce Teens, it’s when things really begin to heat up. TNT (Tuesday Night Thing) begins June 23 with a picnic, and will continue throughout the summer (see schedule). July will see our mission team head off to Romania for almost two weeks. This trip will be our last to Romania. In addition to financial help, we are looking for donations of multi-colored duct tape, old digital cameras, and 8GB memory cards to use in the cameras. Three days after returning from Romania, a group will head to Canada for our annual Spiritual Disciplines Canoe Trip. If you haven’t turned in your application yet, do it quick! If there is one trip you want to be on this year, it will be Algonquin. For more information on any of these upcoming events, contact Pastor Mike.
Oh’ Those Summer Nights
After the long, long winter we just survived, I am looking forward to—no longing for—those warm summer evenings spent hanging out with Pearce teens. We are off the month of May and will start TNT (Tuesday Night Thing) on June 30 with a picnic at Hamlin Beach. TNT is intentionally casual, and is designed to help students going into 7th grade through 12th grade to build relationships and give them a tool to invite friends to a safe, non-threatening event. Stay tuned as we are confirming the schedule for the entire summer and we’ll get that out to you ASAP.
Question, Question Number 1, Question
For those who have participated in the long history of Bible Quizzing, this phrase is extremely familiar. I am so proud of the Pearce quizzers who show up for their tournaments each month, familiar with their passages and with their quotes memorized. The teens have really taken God’s Word to heart, and the way they connect with the other teams is fascinating to watch. In particular, the two Pearce Young Teen Vet teams competed against each other in a battle for the ages. It was tied going into the final question, a question that Tim Ockrin answered correctly to seal the victory. The next tournament will be in June and will be the regional finals. If you get the chance, check it out.
A Ministry for the Ages
Recently, I have been doing a bunch of research on ministry models. It has become well known that we are seeing a relatively large number of folks who, by the time they finish college, have left the church. It has long been believed that they will return, especially once they begin having kids. While this is somewhat true, it is in smaller numbers than most of us would like. Barna, Mark DeVries, and the Fuller Youth Institute have each found that the single factor that students who maintain their faith through college and beyond have in common is that they have grown up in inter-generational churches. What is an inter-generational church? It is a community that represents numerous age groups and works to engage them with each other. It is a church that looks to fully incorporate students into the life of the church. This week, I received a photo from Sue Preston of Allison Draper and Kaitlyn Sipes, who willingly volunteered to help Karen Teske and Sue set-up and decorate the tables for the Easter Bunch. It was an excellent opportunity for these two girls to get a glimpse of what it means to serve in a church, to try on being an adult by working alongside adults, and to make a real contribution to the life of the church body. Thank you, Sue and Karen, for investing in the lives of these young ladies. This month, our 9th and 10th grade girls made flower pots to give to some of the older generation here at Pearce. Under the guidance of Carol Wilson and Molly Zupp, these girls worked on painting and planting, in order to bring a little bit of sunshine into the lives of those who could use it. Another example is a group of teens who, last year, joined with some men from Pearce to cut, split, and stack wood for a widowed mom in our community. In the coming months, as I continue to research this model, I hope to find more opportunities for Pearce to become even more inter-generational.
Flower City Perspective
Guest Blogger Sarah Grice
My work tends to keep me in quiet spaces, often in front of a book or computer. Though there is a certain excitement to the constant pressure of paper deadlines, it is nice to have a change of pace every once in a while. When I realized I could spend a day on a Flower City work site with Pastor Mike, I was excited!
I have a secret passion for painting. I love the sound of paint being pressed between a roller and a wall. Being a part of the transformation of a tired room is such a rewarding experience. Pastor Mike did not let me paint. No! Instead he had me oversee two teenagers, three hammers, and two crowbars. After hauling trash out of the basement, our job was to tear apart a solid wood cabinet and then a basement wall. During that process, we created even more trash to take to the curb. My secret passion for painting was quickly overshadowed with the joys of swinging a hammer and the careful use of a crowbar. It is so much fun!
What was even more rewarding for me was the time that I spent with the people in that home. Watching a shy teenager’s face light up as she figured out how to knock a door off its hinges was priceless. Seeing the care of a teenage boy as he swept broken glass off the street was an unexpected delight. Mutual teasing between Roe (Mike’s dad) and me was like the icing on the cake. Even more incredible was the opportunity to work with a family who was involved with the volunteers.
So often I find that ministry can be surprisingly joyful. The more I pay attention, the more I find delight in each aspect of ministry (even on the days that I don’t get to paint walls).