Archive for the ‘youth ministry’ Category

Who Is Andrew Allard v.5

This will be the last post for the week about who Andrew Allard is.  This post will share with you the insights of several friends. One of Abbie’s(Andrew’s sister) best friends, Alisa Etkie, who knew Andrew and saw him a lot because she spent a lot of time at their house.

“Andrew always had a smile on his face, which brought many smiles to the faces of others. I remember one time when he sneakily took my purse when I wasn’t looking and hid it from me. I looked everywhere for it, and then asked him about it. “Andrew, where’s my purse?” He said, “I don’t know” and tried to hold back a smile. Finally, he returned my purse. I’ll always remember his light-hearted spirit and how bad he was at telling a lie without cracking a revealing smile.”

Abbie, Andrew’s sister, shares this:

1367319050_lBeing his big sister, I saw the good, the great, the bad, and the ugly. But throughout our lives we were always there for each other. Because Andrew and I were only sixteen months apart, people would always ask if Andrew and I were twins. Of course, I would always make it a point to let them know I was older. And of course, Andrew would always make it a point to tell them he was in the same grade as me. Because we were home schooled from the very beginning, almost every hour of every day was spent together. He was my other half; the connection we had made it feel like we were actually twins.
Andrew was the silly one. He was always goofing off, making every situation fun. I remember his last Halloween back in 2006. We were having friends come over and going trick or treating in my huge neighborhood. Thirty minutes before they were suppose to arrive at my house, Andrew said to me, “So, what should I wear for a costume??” Being all concerned and serious, I replied, “Andrew! Why are you thinking of this now?! You should be ready!” He went into our attic and compiled all these random items and put together a costume. “Flava Flaveeeeeeeee!” he said as placed the handmade clock necklace around his neck. My friends and I all just laughed with him at his strange costume.
So many people remember Andrew for his contagious smile, compassionate heart, and love for a good time. I would have to agree that those things really did define who he was. In addition to that, Andrew had a love for life—never wasting a moment doing something he didn’t want to do (unless it was English homework that we would both put off together.) He was very self-motivated to accomplish the goals he had for himself. He wanted to pitch the best fast ball; he worked hard. He wanted to reach out to his friends; he spent quality time with them. He wanted to play a sweet guitar solo; he practiced—for many hours at a loud volume! His love for different things was very apparent, not because he just spoke about them—and let me assure you… he spoke about them. A lot!—but because his time was spent on what was important to him. Many days I get caught in the cycle of doing the same old thing. Wake up, homework, eat, class, gym, sleep. I do things just to get through them, so I can get to the next thing I need to get through and so on. Andrew was never like that. He always lived in the here and now. His example of loving things enough to made time for them still teaches me that is how I need to live my life. I miss so many opportunities to love those who need it because my focus is everywhere but where I am at the moment.
Out of every human being on this earth, Andrew was the one I was closest with by far. We shared laughter, tears, arguments, joys, pain, and friendships. Though I miss him terribly, I know his influence lives on. His name is on a flippin’ building! I hope my legacy will impact people tremendously like his does.

Joey Libby, Andrew’s band mate and the “L” in AKL (the band that Andrew played in) shares these memories:

l_79fff6bbb9a359d368702b5abcab622a“I remember the first day I ever really got to start talking with Andrew was when I was either 8 or 9 years old in the minor league field baseball dugout. The thing that stuck out to me the most was the never ending smile on his face. And then there’s the times with the band and me going to visit him in Florida. No matter what vacations I go on in the future that will always be the greatest trip of my life. One thing I’ve never told anyone because I guess its just not that important to anyone except myself – but after everything that happened I tried to imagine the last time I ever got to see Andrew’s smile and that was the day before I left Florida and we were throwing a tennis ball with gloves on the street he lived on.  I can’t remember which one of us threw it over eachothers head but Andrew had laughed over something I said before one of us went to get it and that one image will never leave me for the rest of my life. I tell Andrew’s story at every concert AKL plays now and I’m always going to. The main thing I say is “after me saying this the point I’m trying to make is God is over us and watching us and I know Andrew’s doing the same and he always will be.” Andrew will always be #1 in my heart.”

Bottom line, Andrew will always be missed and always remembered.  Yes, we have a soon to be finished youth center that will bear his name and will stand for many years to come.  Many will pass through the doors and may never have the chance to know who Andrew was.  But who Andrew really was, the essential Andrew, will always live on.  The youth center is being built so that we will have one more opportunity to reach outside of our own building and be a blessing to our community.  That is who Andrew was, he was never self-serving, always looking out for others who may have a need, and he never missed an opportunity to share the love of Jesus with people.  My prayer is the legacy of Andrew’s life will live on through the youth center.

We love, miss, and wait for the day when we will see Andrew again – but for now, we will continue to share the love of Jesus with many young people throughout Central New Hampshire.

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Who Is Andrew Allard v.4

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Tyler Clark, a good friend of Andrew’s shares some of his experiences with Andrew:

“First me and Andrew met at the little leauge baseball game in Donati Park, I was watching the game and was playing with my yoyo and Andrew came up to me and we started talking then he pulled out a yoyo and showed me tricks that were out of this world!  I wanted him to show me more and I was amazed.  I was amazed about a lot of things Andrew did.  We exchanged numbers and became close friends. During the summer me and Andrew played golf all the time.  I remember we bet who would win on our golf games.  After 18 holes whoever won wouldn’t have to buy lunch.  Andrew always got alot of free lunches from me:).  He was an awesome golf player.

As the days passed we became closer friends.  I rememeber the first sleepover we had.  Andrew came over in the summer and we played mini hockey in my basement.  Andrew fell in love with that too.  When he left to go home we gave him one of my brothers old hockey sticks.

Andrew and Joey were soon in a band together and it was fun to watch them play because they came up with the best guitar solos and songs without singing yet.  Andrew loved coming to me and Joey’s hockey games.  I remember when we went to Dover to play a game and Andrew came with us. When I got in the car Andrew asked me if I had ever heard of the “best band ever.”  I was like, “no show me and he later let me listen to a song called “Who I am hates who I’ve been” by Relient K.  I fell in love with Andrew’s favorite band.  I remember during the trip he showed me the band on his iPod.  I fell in love with the iPod and later I got an iPod and Relient K was the first band on my iPod.

Those were the best memories I had with Andrew.  Theres alot more but those personally are my favorite. When Andrew passed away me and Joey had hockey playoffs and we felt as though Andrew was right there with us.  This helped me and Joey have the best hockey games of are lives that weekend.  We told the team about Andrew and his bright smile that showed everyone who he was just by the smile on his face.  I’ll never forget this part of the story – during one of the games we were all tied up in the 3rd period I gave Joey a pass and he scored a beautiful goal!  I went up to Joey and gave him a hug while we were both in tears as the crowed roared.  Andrew was on our shoulders helping us through every minute of the game.  Andrew is always on our shoulders every minute of our lives and I’ll never forget those memories with him and he’ll always be number one in my heart.”
– Ty Clark

Who Is Andrew Allard v.3

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Today we hear from Jeff Towne.  Jeff was Andrew’s cell group leader for a couple years.  They had a great relationship.  Jeff shares:

“I can’t honestly remember when I met Andrew Allard but I won’t ever forget knowing him.  Andrew and his sister Abby were part of a youth cell group that met at my house every week for several years.  He played the guitar for our cell group because he loved to worship the Lord and I’m absolutely certain that hasn’t changed.  He’s probably back stage somewhere in heaven right now, most likely behind the throne of God, looking for an autograph or a free t-shirt.

His insight into the love of God was beyond his age.  He could always be counted on to get a conversation about Christ started and he encouraged others to share their thoughts as well.  His joy for life was contagious!  We had so many awesome conversations – many of which were serious and some just hysterically funny.  He led others to Christ at the age of 11 or 12 like he had been doing it for 50 years.  He didn’t make it complicated to come to know Christ he just introduced people to his friend Jesus.  His life example was often times enough for people to want to know his Lord better.

We also both love the Red Sox!  We talked so much about who was playing well, who blew it or even worse about the dreaded New York Yankees.  We both had the same opinion about that team – enough said.  We always talked about going to a game but never got the chance.  Hey Andrew – apparently you have no pull this year!  What happened?

Who knew the Lord would want him so badly in heaven?  I can only imagine that the Lord wanted Andrew’s joy around the throne – a true worshipper with an awesome smile and laugh!  In Numbers 14 the Lord stated that Caleb “had a different spirit; he follows me passionately!”  God would also say that about my friend Andrew.  He had a different spirit than most people his age and he loved the Lord passionately.”

Who Is Andrew Allard? v.2

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In my continuing efforts to spread the word about who Andrew Allard was and why the Youth Center that is being built at Grace Capital Church will bear his name I have asked one of his closest friends, Jorden Bonanno, to share a bit of who Andrew was to him.

“Andrew Allard was a fun loving kid who loved the lord, and loved life. He was a good brother, friend, son and uncle. Andrew was a strong influence to a lot of people. He played sports and was always full of energy. He also really loved the red sox. Andrew wanted to be able to live life the way God wanted him to live it. He was a great kid and truly did obey the Lord and follow in Jesus’ footsteps. He was only 13 when he passed away but he had a strong faith with the Lord. The fact is that a lot of people miss Andrew, but we all know that he is having a great time up in heaven. Andrew will be in a lot of peoples hearts forever, and will be a good reminder to be obedient to the Lord and live life the way God has planned for us.”

Check back throughout this next week as we have others share who Andrew was to them.  If, as you are reading these, you have some personal memories of Andrew and would like to share them with others please feel free to write them down and email me at revkev (at) gccnh.com

Who Is Andrew Allard?

Andrew_Allard

That’s the question that I find myself being asked often now that the Andrew J. Allard Memorial Youth Center is being built.  I have answered many people and given my thoughts about who Andrew was and why his name deserves to be on the youth center that we are currently building.  This week, rather than using my words, my stories (however I will post my own personal thoughts later in the week) and my memories of Andrew Allard, I have asked a few of his close friends to describe who Andrew was to them.

To start you off with some basic knowledge.  Andrew was a young man who attended Grace Capital Church with his family.  He played guitar, loved music, and had a smile that would not quit.  He was thirteen years old when he contracted bacterial meningitis and passed away.  It was very sudden.  That was on March 4, 2007.  There are many who were impacted by his life while he was here with us and there are still many who are impacted by his life, his story, and his love for God.

First up in describing who Andrew was is Paul Thiemann.  Paul is a friend of Andrew from Florida.  5 months out of the year Andrew and his family lived in Boca Raton, Florida.  Paul shares with us:

“Andrew Allard was an amazing friend; you could always count on him for a good laugh. It didn’t matter if we were just playing some xbox or chillin at the beach, he was always really fun to be around. I still crack up whenever someone mentions one of our old inside jokes. One of the best things about Andrew was that he would tell you straight out what he thinks you need to know whether or not it’s what you want to hear. Andrew’s the one who convinced me to take music lessons and stick with it. Andrew was always there for you if you needed something, whether it’s a small favor or just someone to talk to, he was there for you.  Through him a lot of people met, and are still continuing to meet, Jesus, and that’s really something great. Andrew was truly a great friend, and was immensely dedicated to the Lord.”

Check back throughout this next week as we have others share who Andrew was to them.  If, as you are reading these, you have some personal memories of Andrew and would like to share them with others please feel free to write them down and email me at revkev (at) gccnh.com

Open Letter To Parents

Dear Parents,

I understand over the past couple of days some of you have been encouraged by the things that I have been writing to teenage girls and boys.  I am thrilled that you have enjoyed my letters.  Today I want to take a few moments and write directly to you.  My desire in writing this letter is to help support you and maybe even share some insight with you that I have gained from working with teenagers for the past 12 years.  I will begin with a disclaimer however, and let you know that I DO NOT have all the answers.  I am a parent of a 5 & 10 year old.  I’m still working very hard to figure out what I am doing most days…

One source of wisdom that I attempt to draw from daily is the Bible.  As I read the Bible I gain understanding of how we (all of us – children, adults, all of us.) work, live and hopefully thrive in this world.  One verse that I hear many parents  refer to as I speak with them is Proverbs 22:6, which states, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”  One of the mistakes that parents make with this verse is that often times I see the training end somewhere around age ten or eleven.

In my role as a Youth Pastor I have had many parents ask me to disciple their teenager.  I hear often that they, the parents, just don’t know what to do with them.  They don’t know how to respond.  They don’t know what to say.  They feel helpless and don’t know where to turn.  I find great hope in this Proverb.  I take it to heart every time that I speak with one of my daughters.  I trust that the seeds that I am planting in their lives will one day flourish and grow.  I am keenly aware that I need to be present in my daughter’s lives.  They need me and their mother to help guide them while they are young.  Your kids need you to help them make good decisions.  That means that you need to be going to the source of true wisdom yourselves.  You can’t lead people where you aren’t going…

mom_yelling_at_daughterGuiding my children is my role.  At some points I would even use the word control.  As they are young I do have the control in the decisions that are made.  As they grow that control becomes less and it transforms more into a shepherding role.  I give a bit more freedom in order to allow them some room for failure while still having the safety of Mom and Dad around to help them when they do choose poorly.  My role as a parent, your role as a parent needs to be a continual process from cradle to grave.  While the role does change, it is critically important that you protect your relationship with your children so that you can maintain influence over them for the rest of their lives.  This is not accomplished by giving them what they want, but by balancing discipline with love.

In dealing with teenagers I see far too many parents who have transformed their role of parent to more of a friendship.  Hear me on this subject, please.  They have enough friends.  They NEED parents.  Strong parents.  Parents that love them enough to say the hard things.  Parents that are less concerned with being told, “I hate you mom.  You never let me have any fun!” and more concerned with seeing their son/daughter grow into a healthy adult.  If you don’t like the clothes they are wearing make them change.  I addressed the subject of modesty with the girls the other day.  You should be helping them understand boundaries in what is appropriate to wear and what is not.  If Sally so and so is wearing it and that is the reason they give you for wanting to wear it as well you can always say what my mother said to me – “If Billy jumped off a bridge would you follow him?”  Sounds cliche but I think it’s time to get back to basic parenting.  Speak up.  Stand up.  Do the right thing even when it gets uncomfortable.

What’s more uncomfortable –

  • Enforcing the rule that they won’t be alone with someone of the opposite sex or sitting in your living room as your 15 year old daughter tells you that she is pregnant?
  • Taking a stand for what your daughter will wear and won’t wear or working through the pain of rape?

If you have a son you aren’t off the hook on this one.

  • Would you rather speak into your son’s life and enforce that they drive responsibly or get the call from the Highway Patrolman informing you that there has been an accident and there was nothing that the paramedics could do?
  • Would you prefer to keep your son from dating the girl that you know is only motivated by one thing or watch your son drop out of school to get a job to provide for the life that he helped create?

Here’s one –

  • Would you rather keep the liquor in the house for those “special occasions” when family comes over or deal with your kid being a closet alcoholic, who drinks themselves to sleep each night?

teenSome things in our lives are not comfortable.  Deal with it.  Be the parent that you kid so desperately needs.  Protect them but don’t baby them.  Your kid won’t always get their way in life.  Help them to understand that.  They won’t always make the varsity team, get the starring role, or make honor role.  Help them understand that life really isn’t fair – but it’s still worth living!  Above all model a life that is lived well.  You cannot expect your kids to learn principles that you are not willing to model for them.  Your kids should not be held to higher standards than you hold for yourself.

Raising kids is not easy.  No one ever said t would be.  You will make mistakes.  I share with the teenagers that I minister to that not one of them were born with an instruction manual.  While it would be great if one would pop out somewhere between their delivery and the placenta; it doesn’t work that way.  With that knowledge they need to cut you, their parents, some slack.  You won’t always get it right as you work to raise them well.  But don’t let your failures overshadow their lives.  Work hard at being the best parent (again, I’ve already said this but hear me again – PARENT, not friend) that you can be.  And know that there are people that are praying for you.  I pray for every parent of every student that is part of my ministry.  I want to do all that I can to partner with you, encourage you and resource you.

Now go and do it.  Do it well…


Open Letter To Teenage Boys (young men)

Dear Teenage Boys, (actually, let me call you young men, I know being a teen you must hate being called a boy…)

The truth is you are becoming men.  That being said, there are some responsibilities that you need to step into.  I know, I said it, that dreaded word – RESPONSIBILITY.  As scary as the word may be, it’s time to face the facts.  You are responsible for some things now.  To make matters worse, your responsibilities will only grow from here on in.  It doesn’t get easier so I hope you really enjoyed the carefree days of your youth.

For the rest of your life you will be faced with choices.  Choices that bring with them consequences,  Choices that effect more people than just yourself.  Choices that can either set you up to have a great future and choices that can make your life far more difficult than it is meant to be.  How do you make your decisions?  Do you just “go with your gut”?  Are your choices made purely by how you feel?  If it makes you happy will that be the choice that you make?  Do you ask others for advice?  Do you seek any guidance at all?

This is something I have always found interesting.  In school you have a guidance counselor.  Their role is simply to help you make choices regarding the classes that you need to take in order to complete a well-rounded education.  At times they are also there to help you when you are having a bad day and need to talk – but mostly it’s just a quick appointment once or twice a year to pick your classes.  If you have someone that helps guide you through the mundane choices of Algebra or Geometry then why in the world would you expect to be able to jump into much larger decisions on your own?

Teen_BoysYesterday I spoke honestly to the ladies.  I spoke to them about the images that they post of themselves on Facebook.  I’m quite sure some of you are hatin’ on me right now because I am trying to take your fun away.  Sorry.  No, actually I’m not sorry.  I’m annoyed.  I’m frustrated.  I’m downright pissed off at times.  I see the way that girls are doing anything and everything possible to be noticed by you guys.  I see the way they are throwing themselves at you in order to feel wanted and cared for.  The sad fact is that many girls are not getting the love that they need from their father’s the way that they are supposed to and because of that they will take any kind of attention they can get – including you all gazing upon their bodies – and giving them the appearance that they are desirable.

I guess that is one of the responsibilities that we can talk about right now.  The responsibility of being a man and not just some punk that will freely take what is not yours to have.  Just because some girls are willing does not mean that you should be.  Man up!  Having sex doesn’t make you a man.  Sex does not equal love nor does it equal care for another person.  And quit using the line, “I love you.” just to get what you want.  Girls so desperately want to hear this and when you manipulate them by telling them what they want to hear you are only continuing the cycle of un-acceptance that these girls are struggling with.  Each of these girls are someone’s daughter, someone’s sister, and someday, someone’s wife, mother, grandmother.  Protect them.  Protect them because you will appreciate your future wife that much more if she enters a marriage with you with no baggage.

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I know that seems like such a foreign concept to you right now.  Marriage is something that you are not thinking about.  Actually, if I may make an observation (and I will because it’ my blog and you can’t stop me) the cycle that you are perpetuating is one of divorce.  Your dating habits actually teach you to be great at LEAVING relationships.  Think about it.  You date a girl.  It’s fun.  It gets serious.  You get physical.  It goes as far as it can go.  You get bored.  You have some conversation (hopefully it’s face to face and not via text message!) and you share with her that, “it’s not you , it’s me.  I guess I have changed.  But we can still be friends.”  (Forgive me for a minute, but you’re lame!)  Then you go find another girl and repeat steps one through seven.  And then you do it again, and again, and again.

What did you just teach yourself to do?  When the going gets tough, leave.  Think about how many married couples have done this over the years.  Rather than take the vow, the commitment, the oath that we have made seriously – “to have and to hold till death do us part” we just leave when it begins to get difficult.  Maybe try and just be friends with girls.  See your role, your responsibility, as one of a protector of girls.  If more guys did that these days I believe we could see a radical reformation in relationships that would make a difference for generations to come.

There is so much more I could write to you, and I hope that through the next years we will talk more about this stuff.  Trust me, I’m not coming down on you alone.  I understand that there are plenty of girls that need to understand that they need to protect you guys as well.  I understand how you are wired – I’m wired the same way.  When you see something that looks good you want to look at it more and more and more.  I do understand that girls need to cover themselves up to keep you from desiring to see more of them.  But you’ve got to do all that you can to protect yourself.  Get together with some other guys and talk about this stuff.  Share with them about your struggles.  Allow them to help you.  Find some other guys that may be a bit older than you, or for that matter way older than you, ask them to help you.  Ask them for guidance.

If it worked for that Algebra class who knows how it could help with this kind of stuff…