Archive for May, 2008

Slow & Steady…

Last night I sat and watched as those who have ministered in the Foursquare Church for 50 & 60 years were honored.  I am inspired and encouraged by the 60 plus people that are still in ministry after all of that time.  As I sat with Mike Mavity I turned to him and just simply said, “I want to be there some day!”

Later that night I internalized that goal into more of a Godly dream.  My prayer is that God would allow me to serve for that length of time.  Even more so, they list off the states where the people have served over that time frame.  I want the screen to plainly read – “Kevin Twombly – Pembroke, NH”.  Forget about serving in one state, I would love to be found faithful to serve at one church all the days of my life.  

Lord, if it be Your will…

30 Hour Famine Results

Some have been wondering how the 30 Hour Famine went this past weekend.  Beyond Expectations would be the best way to describe it.

This was our first famine event as a network of youth ministries.  Together we had 4 churches throughout the Capital Region represented.  There were 42 people involved.  On Saturday afternoon we had a free car wash that was truly free.  We actually had people amazed that we weren’t even asking for donations.  We just wanted to create awareness of the current situation in the world revolving around hunger, health, and debt.  Even as we didn’t ask for donations people gave over $250.00 towards our famine fundraising.

Altogether we raised over $3500.00 for World Vision.  One young man – a 6th grader – who set a lofty goal for himself exceeded his goal.  He personally raised $720.00!  Never think you are too young to make a difference in this world.

Thank you all for your prayers for this event.  Thank you God for showing up and blowing away all of our expectations!

Prepare…

Prepare as if their lives depended on it.  

That is how we all need to prepare for Impact (or whatever student ministry you may lead) each week.  The more we prepare the more free we can be when the students arrive.  Each of us as leaders have the responsibility to have our “stuff together”.  We owe it to the students that we minister to each week.  Preparedness gives us the ability to be full present in our times with them without running around trying to get things done.

I have lived out the hectic, frantic paced life of being unprepared.  I have run into the building 5 minutes before the students would arrive only to see all that needed to be done.  I have found too many times, things not done that needed to be done, and suffered the shortcomings of a lack of planning.  I have also seen the aftermath of a lack of preparation.  I have seen the students that felt ignored because we appeared so busy that we could not spend time with them.

One thing that I have found to be of great benefit to the student ministry that I lead is to be ultra-prepared.  I’m not just talking about the amount of time that I spend in study for what I will talk about on any given evening.  I am referring to the preparation time for the whole event.  Is music playing, is that planned?  Are activities planned, do we have the equipment ready?  Are the lyrics for any songs to be sung loaded up and ready to be projected?  Has the worship team practiced?  Do they know what the plans are for the evening and when they are expected to lead?  What are the events that we are announcing?  Does our announcer have the list of events with all the info?  Do our small group leaders have outlines to use for the discussion?  Are the rooms clean and ready for students?  Do we have snacks?  Pizza? (it’s a student event – you HAVE to have pizza!)  Is it being delivered or picked up?  Did someone order it?

Student Ministry, probably ministry overall, takes lots of planning and preparation to make it happen well.  Many students walk through our doors every week – some for the very first time.  The impression that they get when they walk through the doors and are greeted by someone who appears to care for them is so important.  If we don’t make a good first impression they may never come back.  For that matter, they may not stick around for the full evening – in which case it won’t mater how much time I spent in sermon prep.  If they don’t feel welcome when they first walk in, they may shut down and won’t be able to receive anything that the Lord wants to do in them that night.

How do you prepare?  Are you prepared?  Student Ministry will live or die because of preparation.  So please, prepare as if their lives depend on it – because more times than not, it does.

In Houston

I’m in Houston for the Foursquare Convention.  This has been a great time so far.  It’s great to catch up with friends from all over the country and meet new ones as well.  Sat in a great workshop today with James Craft and Chad Veach.  The workshop title was “Strong in Spirit, Strong in Relationship”.  It was great, as it reinforced my own philosophy of youth ministry.  It also started me thinking more on how I communicate vision and the “why” of what we do at Impact.  More on that later…

Parties & Celebrations

I love to have fun.  I love parties.  The more I look at the life of Jesus I see this to be true in Him as well.  That is why I am so excited for this weekend.  This weekend is the culmination of a series of parties for me…

Yesterday evening we wrapped up the 30 Hour Famine.  This was not just the youth from Impact that were involved.  We had 4 churches from the Capital Region represented under one roof at CenterPoint Church for 30 hours.  During this time we fasted and raised money to help World Vision care for the needs of many.  This was a phenomenal time together.  Overall we have 40 people involved and raised a total of $3,395.00 that will help provide food, healthcare, clean water, and education for so many.  Reason number one to party.

Today we are having our largest baptism service in the history of Grace Capital Church.  64 people from all ages and walks of life will be proclaiming their faith to the world in our 2 baptism services.  I’ll be in the tank during the second service and will have the privilege of baptizing 5 of the youth from Impact as well as so many friends – this is what it is all about my friends!  Reason number two to party.

Today, nine years ago, my first daughter came into this world.  Over the last nine years I have been amazed at how she has grown, how quickly she learns things, and how beautiful (just like her mom) she has become.  I get to laugh with her today as we celebrate her birthday.  Reason number three to party.

This evening I board a plane headed to Houston, Texas where we will be a part of the Foursquare Convention.  This will be a time to do some relaxing after a very busy month but also a time to gather with friends from around the nation.  I’ve got a few meetings set up to have coffee with people much smarter than I to pick their brains on youth ministry, missions, and what a thriving college/young adult ministry can look like.  It’s also a time to sit under some great teaching.  I am very excited, and also quite a bit proud, of my own Senior Pastor and friend, Peter Bonanno, who will be speaking in during one of the main sessions and the convention.  If you think of it on Thursday please pray for him as he speaks (I know he would appreciate that).  Reason number four to party.

This has already been a great weekend and as the Sunday morning sun is rising in the sky I am filled with so much anticipation for what is yet to come!  If you aren’t celebrating something this weekend look for a reason – and the party like it’s 1999 (sorry, I just had to throw that in!)

Hopeful

This weekend we will baptize over 60 people.  From every walk of life and from every generation.  This will be a historic weekend at Grace Capital Church.  I am still amazed at the outcome from a simple announcement one Sunday about a month ago.  Throughout this preaching series “the secret of more”, we have seen so many people truly beginning to take greater steps to deepen their faith.  Just as 2 Peter 1:5-8 encourages us to “add to our faith goodness and knowledge and self control and godliness…” we are seeing people do this.

This weekend we will celebrate.  It won’t be a “service as usual”.  We will worship together, we will laugh, rejoice, shed tears together, but above all we will celebrate.  To witness this many people from our family here in Central New Hampshire take this “next step” in their walk with the Lord will be an incredible reason to celebrate.  Look for the video online next week at http://www.gccnh.com.  The testimonies from each person will be worth it all.

Thank you Lord for your faithfulness to continue building us up in ever-increasing levels of maturity in You!  May we experience even more of You in our lives each day as we take the steps to grow.

Hopeless

Last night on my way home from Impact as I drove down Manchester St. to get onto the highway and head home I had a view from the hillside of what looked like a sea of blue lights.  As I got closer and closer to the bridge that crosses over the Merrimack River I began to think that there had been a bomb threat on the bridge and the police were there to close the bridge.  As the traffic light that I had been waiting for turned green I learned that the bridge was passable.  What had brought what looked like the complete police force of the city of Concord as well as a few NH State Police Troopers as well was a man who was standing on the opposite side of the railing on the bridge.

I knew that I had to at least stop and offer assistance.  I had no idea what would drive this man to throw his life away but I felt that I had to ask if there was anything that I could do to help.  As I turned around and pulled up to the curb I was greeted by one of Concord’s officers.  I identified myself as a pastor at GCC and showed him my credentials and then was told to hang on while he checked with his superior.  After a lengthy bit of time the officer came back and said that they had the situation under control and that I would not be needed.  He thanked me and I let him know that I would be praying for them and for the man on the bridge.  A few of the teens from Impact had driven by the scene and noticed that I had stopped so I called them and asked them to pray with me for this man.  

I will never know what it was that drove this man to this point of desperation but I do know that there is a God – the One and Only – who can give this man a hope for his life.  I spoke with the Concord Police Department this morning to learn that after about 10 more minutes they were able to talk the man back onto the safe side of the railing and then had transported him to Concord Hospital to receive whatever help he may have needed.

I wish that I could write that I was able to step in and speak with this man and tell him just how much his life mattered to God.  I wish that I had the opportunity to share with him the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross for him as well as for everyone else.  It really made me think more about how many opportunities pass us by each day.  Now, there may not be a man standing over the rail on every bridge that we cross – but there are probably more people than we can imagine that are just one straw short of breaking.  I know that we are instructed to make the most of every opportunity to share the hope that is within us.  My prayer is that I will be more faithful in doing this.  My prayer for others reading this is that you too will also be moved to share the joy and grace and mercy that you have experienced.  May we all make a difference for someone each day.  May we be motivated by the love that we have experienced through Christ to change someone’s perspective on their worth.  Lord, help us all to do this more often.

Indiana Jones Tribute

In honor of an amazing trilogy being made into a fourogy (I just made that up…)

It Is Well…

…that Christ has regarded my helpless estate and had shed His own blood for my soul…                             -It Is Well

I grew up singing the old hymns.  It’s been years since I last sang this song.  Today our worship team brought this song back into the lineup.  How refreshing to sing the great truths of Scripture with everyone this morning!  My last post referred to feeling a great deal of pressure – this song re-calibrated the condition of my soul.  

Thank you Lord for fresh reminders of what You have done for us all.  Help me to never dwell on my circumstances but to always remain focused on the hope that comes from You.

Under Pressure

Just the way I’m feeling today – except, imagine that the two mountains are slowly moving towards each other…

Think I’ll add Billy Joel’s “Pressure” and David Bowie’s “Under Pressure” to my playlist for the day.  Any other suggestions?