A Night at the Beach
Each summer our regularly scheduled teen program shifts from Wednesday nights to Tuesday nights. In addition to the change in the schedule there is also a change in the focus. Throughout the school year we spend a lot of time learning, discussing, and focusing on how our faith informs our responses to life’s circumstances. The summer TNT program allows us the opportunity to gather around fun events, where the goal is simply be together and build our relationships with each other. The third week of July, 45 of us headed off to Hamlin Beach for a cookout, swimming and some much needed beach time. The weather was perfect and the laughs were plentiful. For more pictures click here.
Nothing Screams Summer Like Seabreeze
A hallmark of our summer TNT series is our annual trip to Seabreeze. This year over 60 teens headed to Seabreeze for an evening of waterslides, rollercoaster’s and fried food. Seabreeze is the perfect park for us. It has the rides to accommodate all types of amusement enthusiasts and it is all in a secure contained area that allows our students to feel some independence. Nearly every year as Jackie and I walk the park, I say to her “this is one of my favorite events of the entire year.” There is simply something about being at a local amusement park that brings back memories of childhood, and transports us mentally to a scene from a cheesy movie about summer love. The laughs, screams, and smiles of our teens could be seen and heard throughout the park. It was a fantastic night. Check out the pictures here.
Upcoming TNT’s include:
7/23 Pool party at Crotser’s
7/30 Silver Lake Drive In
8/13 Go Carting/Mini Golf @ Club House
8/20 Pool Party at Everett’s
8/27 Pool & Ice Cream Party at Bentley’s
On October 5, 2013 Pearce Church will be hosting the Iron Sharpens Iron Conference. This conference is geared for men 13 years old and up. It is a one day event that includes engaging speakers, breakout discussions and seminars geared toward men as well as students.
Group Early-Registration (10+) Adult – $39, Student – $29, Optional Lunch – $8
Keynotes: Sean McDowell and Tom Joyce
Sean McDowell is an educator, speaker and author. He is head of the Bible Department at Capistrano Valley Christian Schools, summa cum laude from Talbot Theological Seminary with a double Master’s degree in Theology and Philosophy.Tom Joyce is a retired Navy Captain and a Pastor at Immanuel Bible Church in the shadow of the nation’s capital located in Springfield, Virginia. Raised on Long Island and recruited as a lacrosse player, Tom graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1979.
Breakout seminars for students include: Hidden Messages in Movies & Music (for ages 13-29), and What’s the Big Deal with Pornography (for ages 13-19) to mention a few.
Checkout http://www.ironsharpensiron.net/ for more details or contact Pastor Mike.
Do you recognize this man? For 26 years, Bob DeRoo, or more affectionately known as Captain Bob, has greeted teens from 7-12th grade on their way up to our Sunday Small Groups. In 1987, in response to a list of needs printed in the church bulletin Captain Bob came on as the “Teen Sunday School Administrator”, a job that was only to be a commitment of one hour per week. Over the years Bob has seen the job evolve in many ways, and he has had to bend and flex to the various philosophies of seven different youth pastors; In chronological order: Jim Reverts, Harold Neely, Mark McCown, Tom Kilburn, Ron Vining, Greg Harp and Mike Kuhlkin. While the job has not always been easy and has kept him on his toes, Captain Bob states “I’ve never regretted a moment of it, and will continue until God calls me out.” A huge thanks to Captain Bob for his years of service. We hope to celebrate another 26 years before it’s all over.
The Grads Receive a Gift and Give One in Return
Twelve years ago, Pearce, in keeping with a long-standing tradition, gave its first graders their first Bibles. At that time, Abby Monroe and Alexis Bauer were first graders and best friends, but they had little idea the adventures they would embark on in the next 11 years. Trips into the Algonquin wilderness, serving the homeless of Rochester, trips to Poland and to Romania, and numerous other quests have been a regular part of their lives at Pearce. This year, as they completed their final year of high school, they received new Bibles. It is Pearce’s way of saying “well done on this leg of the journey”, but it’s also our way of saying “you’re not finished, go and reach the next generation.” The image I will always keep of this “charge” is the investment that Abby and Alexis have made in my daughter, Rachel. They have always been quick to pick her up, to laugh with her and make faces at her, and to be patient with Rachel’s antics. This is part of investing in the next generation, and I am so glad that they have chosen to make that investment in my child. I am proud of the graduates of Pearce; they came in largely as consumers of ministry and are now being sent out as “agents” for the Kingdom of God.
Seniors Take Time to Picnic!
After four years of high-school, the seniors of Pearce Church took time out last week to celebrate and to partake in a picnic party. This year’s graduating class was our largest to date and each grad has made an impression on me and our team of volunteers. On June 13, we spent the evening at Church Lodge, at Black Creek Park, celebrating the years we have been together. Thanks to Bob DeRoo and Tom Corbett for cooking and serving. The evening included food, a slide show, efforts to stay dry, and a very, very, long trip down memory lane. Congratulations to the seniors and to their parents for making it to this milestone.
This year’s seniors are as follows: Abby Monroe, Casey Heimberger, Alexis Bauer, Chantel Morton, Andrew Messinger , Dan Price, Ryan Hardy, Kendra Dick, Aaron Curtis, Karl Daningburg, Nathan Heitz, Andrew Honan, Tim Kovach, Sophie Stewart, Liz Sadler, Brooke Caton, Kendra Dean, Scott Spear, Mitchel Rende, Tim Pietrzykowski, and Devon Powley
Pearce in Africa
As many of you know, Emily and I traveled in late May, with John and Bridgett Tassone, to our village in Senegal, Africa. Nine years ago, John and his family adopted the village of Ndidor, and about five years ago, my family joined the Tassone family in their efforts to bring health, education, and Christ to this beautiful village. This year, our daughters joined us for our annual visit. The experience was incredible. We had opportunities to visit with family, to share the gospel, and to participate in village life. Emily embraced the culture; having her hair braided, carrying babies, and helping to prepare meals. We were both struck with the fact that a people who have very little-no toys, two outfits, no furniture, and little food-would be so generous in offering what they had to us. They put us to shame in the way they served us. Thank you to the teens and families that supported us with material, finances, and most of all prayer.
Into the Wilderness
Just a reminder that we would like to get all Algonquin applications in by July 1, but we understand things come up. If you would still like to join us, on perhaps, the greatest week of your life, call me or let me know via Facebook. We are still accepting applications. We leave Sunday morning, August 4 and will return the afternoon of August 10. Come experience God’s creation by canoeing still lakes and rivers, and observing loons, moose, bear, and deer. You will also have opportunity to take in the Creator through discussion, Bible study, and journal times. This is a perennial favorite for the teens and leaders at Pearce.
Four years ago, the freshmen in this picture were kidnapped by the seniors at 6:30 am and brought to my house for breakfast. This tradition has carried on in the years since and will take place again this September. What makes this picture special is that the freshmen in it will be graduating this year. It will be our largest group of seniors to date, with 19 graduating. We will be celebrating this milestone with these folks, their families, and their friends: Thursday night June 13 from 6:00-8:00 pm at Churchville Park. The cost is free to the seniors and $5 for anyone else. We will having a picnic, lawn games, and a slide show to honor them. RSVP to me at Kuhlkin_michael@pearcechurch.org if you plan to attend.
15th Annual Mission Golf Tournament
Just a reminder that we are hosting the 15th annual Mission Golf Tournament this year at Salmon Creek, on June 29. We will tee off at 8:00 am with a buffet meal following. The funds raised from this year’s tournament will go to next summer’s Romania mission trip. If you would like to play, the cost is $75. Register online here. If you have questions or would like to be a hole sponsor, contact me at Kuhlkin_michael@pearcechurch.org
Each summer, our teen ministry shifts gears and goes to a more lighthearted format. This allows us to deepen our relationships with kids and to meet their friends. It also makes it easier for Pearce kids to invite new folks. This year is no exception; with pool parties, an evening at the drive-in, go-carting, and a night at Seabreeze on the schedule, it should be a fun summer! We meet from 6:30-8:00 pm, with exceptions for various events. So, if you’re going into 7th grade up through 12th, grab a soda, bring your swim suit, take off your watch, and relax with us this summer.
On April 6th Pearce hosted the regional Quizzing tournament. Our teams all did a fantastic job representing Pearce. In addition to competing in the Quiz Tourney, Pearce students led worship and our own Brooke Caton gave the devotional message. Todd Rapp provided a fantastic meal for all involved. We are so proud of these teens and their leaders. Month after month they memorize scripture, study God’s word and take part in friendly competition. Way to go quizzers!
Flower City Work Camp
April 1-5th saw 14 of our students and 11 Pearce adults take part in Flower City Work Camp. While the weather was cold and wet, these folks endured and made a huge difference for nearly 60 families in the Rochester area. Our kids painted, put up drywall, refinished cupboards, and fixed plumbing. During the evenings, they allowed God to do construction on their hearts. Rather than just learning how to be Christ to this world, they went out and did it. As a result, the city of Rochester got a tangible picture of Jesus. To all who participated – bravo, you did a fantastic job!
“not a fan”
On April 14th we began a new video series with our Sunday Small Groups (SSG). For seven weeks we will be watching the “not a fan” series. This series looks at how we can move from just being a fan to being a follower. The idea is that sports fans often know statistics, win-loss records, and player’s jersey numbers, but don’t know the players themselves. We want to move beyond this in our relationships with Christ. Do we know the names of Christian bands, do we have a Jesus fish on the back of our car, and do we own three or more Christian t-shirts? These can be markers of fans, but we what want is to not just be fans but committed followers. Many of our adult small groups have used this video series; we are using the youth version. Feel free to ask our teens about what they are learning through this series.
From May 23-June 2 Pastor John Tassone and I, along with our daughters, Emily and Bridget, will be traveling to our adopted village Ndidor, Senegal. We have traveled to Ndidor numerous times over recent years to help with projects such as putting in clean water and building a church. They have also provided school supplies, health aid, and children’s programs. By returning to the village year after year, they have been able to build fantastic, life changing relationships. This year Pearce teen Emily Kuhlkin and alum Bridget Tassone will also be going to help minister to the women and children of the village. Please pray for this group as they travel to this Muslim nation. Pray for health, as they live with the villagers at the edge of the Sahara desert and seek to build friendships and relationships. If you would like to support the team, they are collecting vitamins and first aid items, and need to raise approximately $2,500 each. Thank you in advance for your support and prayers.
Father’s in the Field
Some of you may have heard, over the last few months, that the Pearce Sportsmen are sponsoring a new ministry called “Father’s in the Field.” We are currently running a pilot program with one Father and one Field Buddy. The idea of FITF is to match a Christian man with a boy who, for one reason or another, doesn’t have a father actively participating in his life. As the Field Father and Field Buddy meet the work through a study each month, attend church together at least twice a month, and spend time in some sort of outdoor activity (fishing, hiking, camping, biking, hunting). The cost for this program is $500 for each student and is taken on by the church, specifically Pearce Sportsmen. The funds are used for study material and to provide “gifts” for the Field Buddy. In this way, we are able to outfit the young man with appropriate sporting equipment and do it without adding a significant burden to the single mother. If you know of a boy who could benefit from this program, or a father who might be interested in mentoring, please contact me at email@example.com
Each month, a group of close to 20 students and coaches travel to area churches to compete in Bible Quizzing tournaments. Our team meets every Tuesday night to practice their quotes and jumps, and for fellowship. Quizzing involves students studying and memorizing scripture and then competing against other teams by jumping off an electronic seat. The students have to be quick to jump, but also need to be able to answer questions and quotes flawlessly. While it is competitive, I am always surprised by the camaraderie that develops between the teams. There is a great spirit among the competitors, and all of the participants are truly there to deepen their understanding of God’s Word. If your child would like to get involved, or if you have some spare time and would like to help coach, please contact Laura Cockrell. Pearce will be hosting the April tournament, and volunteers are needed. Contact Laura or myself if you can help. The results from the February Tournament are as follows:
Senior Teen Veterans: 4th place – Karl Daningburg, Juliana Cole, Hannah Distaffen, 5th place – Andrew Messinger, Melanie Cockrell, Mitch TerHaar
Young Teen Veterans: 3rd place – Rebekah Distaffen, Ryan Pappa, Michelle Garrett, Jaclyn Breeze
Young Teen Rookie: 2nd place – Sarah Messinger, Andrew Cole, Joshua Thomson, Chris Woods
Pearce Invests in Interns
Due to our close proximity and the variety of ministries we offer, Pearce is often approached to host interns from Roberts Wesleyan College. This semester, Krystal Herrick is interning with Student Ministries at Pearce. She spends 10 hours per week with myself, our teens, and the volunteer team. Her first five weeks were spent largely with the junior teens. She is now working with the senior teens and has taught a Sunday Small Group, helped organize a bowling night, and is working on her final project – a devotional book for the Algonquin Canoe Trip. If you see Krystal, welcome her to the team.
Sunday Small Groups (SSG) Study the Life of Christ
This year, the teens have been meeting on Sunday mornings for what we call Sunday Small Groups (SSG). This time involves about 35 minutes of welcome and teaching, and it includes both the junior and senior teens. After our time of teaching, the students break up into age-and gender-specific small groups to discuss what they have just learned. The small group leaders are emailed 5-7 questions each week to help guide the discussion, but the crux of the small group time is spent building relationships between Christian adults and students. Our teens may never remember a single lesson we give them, but I guarantee they will remember an adult that consistently invests time and care. This year, we have been using Ken Gire’s devotional “Moments with the Savior” to guide our times together. Every eight weeks or so, we mix in a video series, just to keep things interesting. If you would like to join our team of small group leaders, contact Bob DeRoo or myself.
Let’s Get Out of Here!
Thirty teens and leaders ventured out to Penn York Retreat Center in Ulysses, Pennsylvania for a retreat over the weekend of January 11-13. It was a fabulous group and relaxing trip. The focus of the weekend was on leadership development, but inherent in the word “retreat” is the idea of relaxing and resting. Both of these goals were achieved. We had opportunity for sledding, basketball, volleyball, games, movies, and snacks, as well as great conversations regarding “good” leadership, “effective” leadership and spiritual leadership. In a culture where many are pointing fingers at the behavior of teenagers, I came away from this weekend encouraged and hopeful for our future. The students were engaged, thoughtful, and funny. In nearly twenty years of full-time ministry, I cannot recall a more relaxed retreat. Perhaps the greatest take-away was that we were able to build on the relationships our leaders have with the teens. It is weekends like this that remind our volunteers why they give so much time and energy to this ministry.
What Do You Want on Your Pizza?
It’s mere days before the Super bowl, and preparations are underway for the big party.
Soda – Check
Chips – Check
Big Screen TV – Check
Pizza – Oh no, we forgot to order pizza!
Many of you were able to avoid this potential disaster and support the Pearce Bible Quiz Team by ordering your pizzas ahead of time. Thank you for making this year’s quizzing pizza sale such a success. For the third year, Pearce has supported this fundraiser to the tune of 200 pizzas! That’s $1,000 that will go to help our quizzers compete in monthly tournaments, as well as the end of the year national tournament. Thank you for your support!
Flower City Work Camp
Pearce will again be sending a team of adults and teens into the local mission field this spring. Flower City Work Camp will be held April 1-5, and we have 14 students and 9 adults participating in this city-wide effort to repair the homes of Rochester residents. Our team will be joining nearly 800 other adults and students as they paint, roof, hammer, and share the love of Christ. This is a fantastic event to introduce students to mission work, and it’s an excellent way to have an immediate impact on our community. Please pray for safety on the 50 worksites, the basketball camp, and the 20 different sidewalk clubs. If you think of it, pray for warm weather as well. With 55 area churches participating, we are excited to see how God works. Flower City Work Camp – “That the city may see Jesus.” For updates and info, check out flowercityworkcamp.org
Algonquin Applications are being Accepted!
I know we just finished opening the Christmas gifts and returning the sweaters that didn’t fit, but it’s not too early to start thinking about the warmth and tranquility of the Canadian wilderness. I recently changed my desktop picture to the photo above, because in the depth of winter I love to daydream about our annual trip to Algonquin. If you have not participated in this trip, I would strongly encourage you to do so this year. Move your family vacations, plan your other camp trips around this, and take the risk to join us this year August 4-10. You will grow in your understanding of spiritual disciplines, experience God’s magnificence through His creation, and build friendships and bonds that will be forged on the anvil of community living. If you are entering at least 9th grade, you can reserve your spot by picking up an application at the teen info center at Pearce. The cost of this year’s trip is $450 if you register before May 1, or $475 after. The deadline to sign up is July 1. Don’t delay, you don’t want to miss this trip!
Out in the Cold
On December 7 & 8 approximately 20 teens and adults gathered for “Project Out in the Cold.” This project was conceived and executed by Karen Hopkins, and was designed as an opportunity for our students to live a night in the shoes of the homeless. The goal was to help our teens to identify with those in the Rochester area who are less fortunate, raise funds that can help local missions to the homeless, and to bring a general awareness to our community about this growing problem. The teens slept out in cardboard boxes on a cold rainy night, were served two warm meals by Buzz and Linda Mantegna, and heard from three different missions. My heart swelled with pride as our kids were eager to learn from our guests what life for the homeless is like, and how they might actively participate in helping them. The hearts of these teens are an encouragement to me when I think about their potential to change their world.
Get Out of Town
On December 9-11, Jackie and I were blessed with this directive, given by our volunteer leaders, “Get Out of Town.” On Sunday afternoon we had volunteers come to the house to stay with our children and provide Jackie and I with a stay at a wonderful bed & breakfast in Ellicottville, complete with a gift certificate for dinner. What a wonderful gift from volunteers who already give so much of their time and talents to teens. We are such a blessed congregation to have these dedicated leaders working with our kids. Thank you to Karen & Maurice Hopkins, David Shewan, Honna Lusk, Sean Hardy, Tom Corbett, Sarah Grice, Lynn Vannest, Kyle Poag, Craig Bailey, Beth Honan, Becca Sadler, Todd Adams, James Kerwin, Becca & Tyler Logan, Allie Stewart, and Rob Hoose.
‘Tis the Season – To Eat
One of the proverbial favorites of the Pearce Senior Teens is our annual Progressive Dinner. This year the traveling meal was attended by 47 teens and leaders and took place on Sunday evening, December 16. The groups traveled to various host families for appetizers, salad, and dinner, and completed the night with homemade pies at the home of Dave & Sheryl Hunt. The evening closed with each student sharing how they have been impacted by the Pearce Youth Group and by Jesus Christ this year. We finished in prayer and singing “Silent Night.”
It is my belief that the best way to raise kids up is in a multi-generational fashion, and again this year that was bore out with this event. Our kids ate in the homes of families, retirees, and even pastors. The people who make up the congregation at Pearce have so much to offer our teens in the way of wisdom and example. Thank you so much for the way you once again served our teens.
E.T. Phone Home
As the parent of two junior high students, I am realizing how difficult it is to get information, and how easy it is for kids to lose info in the black hole they call a book bag. To help with this, we are trying to communicate with parents through as many mediums as possible. First, teens will continue to get paper flyers about events to take home. Second, join our Pearce Parents Facebook group by searching for Pearce Parents. Third, we are using all outlets available through Pearce, including the Current Events Sheet, the Worship Card, the Pearce Facebook page, and the Pearce website. Finally, you can get text message updates from us by texting PearceTeens to 68398 or by scanning the QR code below. We know we will still be missing some of you, so let us know if there are other ways you would like us to communicate with you. See you in the funny pages.
Based on the support from the Pearce family, you would have to have been in a cave the last six months to have missed the fact that the Pearce teens ventured to Romania and Poland over the last 5 weeks. What an adventure this last month has been.
Our first trip to Romania pushed our teen’s way outside their comfort zones. Living with host families who spoke little to no English, working with impoverished Gypsy families, and navigating our way through an unfamiliar country and culture were the tools that God used to demonstrate to us just how big he really is. For most of the team this was their first excursion to Romania, but for some of us this was a return to a home away from home. It was fantastic to reunite with old friends and to make new ones. Having the benefit of having been to Romania before I was amazed at the work and the transformation that has gone on in Sigisora. Buildings are being updated and even the church is expanding, but perhaps what brings the greatest joy is seeing how people are growing in their spiritual walks. God has really moved in the hearts of those folks just as he did with our team.
Our second trip was to Konin Poland where the team was to work with Young Life to run the very first Young Life camp in Poland. While we did accomplish this, God had a whole bunch of other things in mind for us. At mid week over half the camp was taken to the hospital for three days to be treated for a virus. This left us scrambling to cover camp and to figure out what ministry would look like in a formally communist hospital. Again many of us found ourselves outside of our comfort zones, some physically and some because they were thrust into leadership roles they were not prepared for. But just as he did in Romania, God proved to us again that he can’t be put into a box. Our God is huge and he knew what he wanted to accomplish and we felt blessed simply to be a part of it.
After a summer of trips to Seattle (Quiz Team), Algonquin (Discipleship Canoe Trip), Romania, and Poland it is really good to be home and I am ready to get back on to a regular schedule. In the coming weeks we will resume our Sunday Small Groups and our Wednesday Night Teen programs. I look forward to being with students and walking through life together, but my prayer for us this year is that we remember just how big our God is. When we try to put God in a box, we are trying to create God in our own image. God refuses to allow us to do this. He can’t be contained by our limitations. If our students and I can grasp this, we will be so much more effective as ministers of His Gospel.
One last parting thought: Thank you to all who supported all of these trips this summer. Thank you for the way you gave financially, they way you prayed fervently, and for the ways that you encouraged us all both during and after the trips. The Pearce community has shown once again how much they truly love their teens.
Last week I was invited to a pre-release screening of the movie King’s Faith. www.kingsfaith.com or King’s Faith on Facebook. This movie is in the same genre as Courageous and Fireproof and is similar in nature to To Save a Life; however, it is not as overt in how it presents the gospel and the cinematography and acting are superior to To Save a Life. Two years ago, I was invited to read the script and spend a few hours with the film’s director Nick Dibella giving feedback and suggestions. Now seeing the story on screen I am very pleased with Nick’s efforts. I think this will be an attractive movie especially for teens, but there is a great adult story that is woven in as well. King’s Faith was written, filmed, and produced right here in Rochester, which adds a fun dynamic as well. Below is a synopsis of the movie; check out the Web site at http://kingsfaith.com. On March 24 at 2:00 pm there will be a free screening of King’s Faith at the Dryden Theater. If you are interested in attending, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or at PastorMikeK on Facebook.
King’s Faith is a story about a troubled high school boy who is taken in by a Christian foster family. “Brendan has seen a lot in his 18 years, most of it not good. Growing up in the foster care system, Brendan spent most of his life on the fringes of society. His former gang provided the only loyalty, stability, and sense of belonging that he had ever known; but eventually that world left him utterly alone once more, incarcerated, lost, and confused. While imprisoned, Brendan found faith and with it a renewed hope and sense of purpose. But keeping his faith once he regains his freedom is more of a challenge than when he was locked down, as new opportunities, new friends, and a new future clash directly with old temptations, old friends, and a past that he can’t seem to escape.”
In other news, the fundraising efforts for this summer’s Pearce Teen’s World Tour are in full swing. The quiz team has held an Avon sale, pizza sale, a pancake breakfast, and will be doing their quote-a-thon this spring. They will be in Seattle June 25-30. The Romania and Poland teams have held numerous bake sales, completed odd jobs, and on March 25 will be holding their Variety Show (see a team member for tickets). The Romania trip is July 26-August 6 and the Poland trip is August 16-27. Finally, registration forms for the Algonquin trip (August 5-11) are available online (registration form). If you have not gotten your passports yet for Romania, Poland, or Canada, please do so immediately.
In addition to these fantastic trips, many of our teens will be participating in Flower City Work Camp over Spring Break in April. I am so proud to see the many ways our students are participating in the worldwide church. Please pray for safety as we travel, as we work, and as we minister in the coming months. May God be glorified in each of these places.
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This week I posted an article on Facebook entitled “Six Reasons Young Christians Leave the Church.” The article was informative and has inspired a bunch of conversations, but what intrigued me most about it was how quickly it was reposted by others. The Barna piece was emailed to me by Dan Pappa over a month ago. I finally had time to read it and thought it worth offering up for conversation. Within a day it was being reposted in numerous circles and commentary was being offered from all corners. (more…)