Mission Minded? Check it out!

Summer 2017 brings us to a NEW adventure for Ignition Mission!

At Seneca Creek Community Church, we have defined our vision in the following way: To ignite a movement of the gospel that will transform our world with the H.O.P.E. of Christ! The gospel is the HOPE of the world and we, the Church, have been entrusted with that hope.

In ignition, we believe that students are in a unique position to live out this calling.

We are looking forward to an amazing summer Ignition Mission trip and we can’t wait to share the details with you!!

Mark your calendars and RSVP here for one of these two informational meeting dates:

  • Sunday, January 29th at 9:00am
  • Wednesday, February 8th at 6:00pm

This meeting will cover all of your questions about timing, location, student eligibility, etc. so if you are even remotely interested, please plan to be there. SPACES are EXTREMELY limited and unlike last year, it is unlikely I can add spaces beyond our current reservation.

Our trip dates are July 23-29, 2017 and, yes – I know it seems like the summer is forever away, but we are working with early deadlines and planning. Believe me, summer will be here before we know it!

Parents – if your student is interested, you really need to be at this meeting. And, if you are interested in coming on this trip as well, we will definitely be going over very important details about that as well.

You can keep up with information as it becomes available on our MISSION TEAM WEBSITE.

We can’t wait to see God build this team and change our hearts!

Middle Status has a bad rap

Middle child. Middle aged. Middle seat.

Middle school.

None of that sounds good. No one wants to be in the middle of anything. When we are in the middle, we feel confused, frustrated, STUCK. I can count on one hand the number of people who have told me that they had a great Middle School experience. Most of them share the same sentiment: Middle School sucks.

But what if we could shift the lens and see the middle from an entirely different point of view?

In their book, It’s Just a Phase So Don’t Miss It , Reggie Joiner and Kristen Ivy unpack each phase of a child’s life until 18 with remarkable insight and a revolutionary perspective on what it means to be a Middle School Student.  For example, did it ever occur to you that the one thing those crazy, hormonal, overly dramatic Oscar contenders need more than anything is affirmation? These students are on a desperate search for the “WHO” of their personal story.  They are stretching their understanding of the world, which suddenly got MUCH bigger than the playground, and how they see themselves fitting, or NOT fitting into it. I suspect if you look back, you’ll see some of that struggle in your own rear view mirror as well.

Imagine what could happen when we AFFIRM a middle schooler’s personal journey of discovery, providing them a safe place to ask questions and discover their God-given design and purpose.

Another powerful revelation: Middle School students think like Engineers. And Engineers are problem solvers by nature. And God, Jesus and their personal faith journey are all ripe for deconstructing, unpacking, repacking, retooling and rebuilding.

Imagine if middle school students had the freedom to express doubt and confess brokenness in an environment that fosters healing, discovery and restoration.

“Every child deserves a champion, an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection, and insists that they become the best that they can possibly be.” Rita Pierson

Suddenly, the MIDDLE has become a very MAGICAL place.

Who doesn’t want to be a part of that?

Join us January 15, 22 and 29 in the brand new Middle School space for our ministry open house. We invite you to discover what incredible experience just 2 hours a month with these engineers can be. You can sign up right here to let me know you’re coming. Don’t miss it!

For more information on the PHASE book, research project and resources, check out the website JUST A PHASE

New series: Entourage! Who are their peeps

When we hear the word entourage, most of us think of celebrities walking the streets of Beverly Hills, barking orders at their “people”—people that work for them or just get paid to hang out with them. By definition, an entourage is a group of people attending or surrounding an important person. Even if we don’t feel important, most of us want at least a handful of people who like to hang around us—people who laugh at our jokes, go to the movies with us, and simply have our back. King David, his son Absalom, and his grandson Rehoboam were no different. As royals, each had an entourage and through their experiences we see that the choices we make with those around us can change everything.

A quick internet search reveals the worries many parents feel when it comes to their teen’s friends. “How to spot a bully”. “How to spot a bad influence”. “How to spot the wrong crowd”. There is plenty to worry about when it comes to your child’s friends. But what if you have more influence than you think? What if you were able to not only help your teen choose friends, but to directly influence the life choices those friends make?

More and more studies say you can.

A study published in the archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine suggests that teens with friends who have strict parents are less likely to binge drink and make other poor life choices. Check more out here.

Think about that. The students in this study were most influenced by their friends’ parents, not just their friends. In fact, you probably don’t need a lot of research to know this. Have you ever heard someone say, “She is like a second mother to me”. Probably so. Many of us grew up with at least one set of friend’s parents who influenced us. Part of maturing is beginning to listen to multiple voices, multiple adult influences. As parents we have an incredible opportunity to speak into our own children’s lives by using our influence to guide their friends.

Having influence on your child’s friends doesn’t mean you have to be the “cool one”.

It doesn’t mean you have to host or allow parties, throw caution to the wind, and be their best buddy. It also doesn’t mean you have to legally adopt them or have them over every night of the week. Having influence can be as simple as taking one step toward including a friend in your normal family plans.

    • Invite them in. Invite your teen’s friends to spend time at your house. You don’t have to do anything special or make a five star dinner. For a lot of students, the concept of a normal (even boring) family dinner is almost unimaginable. Simply being in a home with someone other than their own parents can offer students a different perspective on things like marriage, work, family, and decision-making. So don’t feel the need to put on a show or have the most fun house on the block. Just allow someone else to be a part of your family once in a while. You may have more impact than you think.
  • Invest in them. Invest time and energy in your teen’s friends. Talk with them, ask questions, and listen. Teens are often more likely to open up to other teens’ parents than their own. Do you know how to fix a car or bake a cake? Can you fish, play tennis, or scrapbook? Offer to show them! Sometimes the best conversations take place while working on something else. Chances are they’ll appreciate the new skill and your own student is more likely to join in if their friends are involved.

Everyone wants their teen to be wise and intentional when it comes to friends. And the best way to teach that skill is to model it. Think about the friends your teen already spends time around.

How intentional are you about investing time in those people?

Are you using your influence to help that person in any way? Is there one teen you could invite to dinner, to hang out, or to be helpful? Use the boxes below to help you figure out how you can be intentional with your teen’s friends.

group of boxes

This series will take us through the rest of May. Feel free to stop in! Also, feel free to ask me questions, challenge me, or add your two cents to the conversation!

Get connected to a wider community of parents at www.orangeparents.org.

Life is Uncontrollable

In life we often find ourselves blindsided by changes in our circumstances and life conditions. Death. Serious illness. Divorce. Relocation. Abuse. Tragic loss. And, as hard as it is for us as individuals to navigate those waters, as parents, we sometimes struggle to find the right words or actions to help our children through them.

If we are honest, much of what has shaped us have been events and circumstances beyond our control.

Dr. Wayne Evans, a professional counselor with incredible personal and professional experience in this realm, will be speaking on how to make it through events in a family’s life that are beyond our direct control, or the control of our children, yet affect  them in powerful ways for the rest of their lives.

Join us on Wednesday, April 22 from 7-9pm for a completely free event with Dr. Evans. It’s a great event to invite others to be a part of as well. We do ask that you take just a few moments to register so that we can plan appropriately. Just CLICK HERE to do that.

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Ignition Mission: What’s the big deal?

Reality check: July is just around the corner.

It’s tempting to think of the upcoming trip to Cincinnati as just another summer programming “thing” from the church. It will fill a space on my calendar. It gets my kid(s) out of the house. It will show my kids how much they have and maybe they’ll appreciate it more. It’s one less thing I have to plan.

The truth is, mission trips are far more revolutionary than a van ride to sweat in the sun for a few days.

Long before even our first meeting as a team, the Holy Spirit is at work building that revolution. Each team is build from the heart up, starting with the initial prompts from God to step outside of where we are most comfortable. In so many ways, the mission team becomes a microcosm of what it means to live in Christian community, guided by the hand of God in very real ways.

And it doesn’t stop there.

One of the primary reasons we go on these trips is to train and equip our students (and our leaders and parents) in kingdom work that can, and needs to be, done right here in our own backyards. Our neighbors need us in ways we can rarely see without looking through the lens of bringing heaven to earth, or building God’s kingdom right here. This trip provides exactly the right set of “prescription” lenses.

And I’m not the only one who believes this. Take a moment to check out THIS VIDEO of what other student leaders are saying about the experience of partnering with Engage:Service.

So, as we approach the critical “drop dead” date to get on the team, I ask that you prayerfully consider sending your student and maybe even joining us on this incredible journey. All the details can be found in our Ignition Mission 2015 Packet and you can also download an official Ignition Mission 2015 Application.

The absolute final date to bring in your application and deposit is March 29th.

I look forward to having your student(s) and you on this year’s team!

Important Opportunity! Don’t miss this!

At Seneca Creek Community Church, we have defined our vision in the following way: To ignite a movement of the gospel that will transform our world with the H.O.P.E. of Christ! The gospel is the HOPE of the world and we, the Church, have been entrusted with that hope.

In ignition, we believe that students are in a unique position to live out this calling.

And, to that end, from July 13-18, our very own ignition students will embark on amazing summer missions trip!

Join me Sunday, February 8 at 12:30pm for a brief information meeting where all the details will be available. This meeting will cover all of your questions about timing, location, student eligibility, etc. If you are even remotely interested, please plan to be there with or without your student. Several veterans of the trip will be there as well so come with plenty of questions! This is also an excellent opportunity to serve together as a family!

If you are interested, please RSVP to heather@senecacreek.org so I can plan appropriately!

What about the Darker Side?

Important Parent Opportunity

Parenting a student, Middle or High School, is definitely not easy. There is a darker side to life as a student in today’s culture that threatens to eclipse even the happiest and healthiest parent-teen relationships.

Depression, self-harm and suicide is undeniably rampant in the world of our students.

They are surrounded by the voices of pain, hurt, confusion and self-loathing. And, more often than not, we don’t know how to respond to our own child’s inner wounds, hoping and praying that they do not develop in to outer ones.

Sometimes, we wrestle with what to do all alone – never reaching out to those around us who are available, qualified and willing to walk along side us as we parent our depressed and hurting student.

We’d like to help. In part two of our Parent Symposium series, we will walk into that darker world with the help of a trained professional. Bill Wheelhouse has a Masters from Regent University in Human Services Counseling, and has been involved in youth ministry for over 24 years. His many certifications include Member of the American Association of Christian Counselors since 2012, Certificate in Spiritual Care in Crisis Management from the International Critical Incident Foundation, Ministry Director Celebrate Recovery Cedarbrook Community Church, Executive Director and Co-Founder of Teen Factor and Crisis Chaplin for Montgomery County Emergency Preparedness Collation.

Plan to join us on Wednesday, January 28 at 7pm for a Symposium on A Darker Side. The event is totally free, a casual, conversational environment and there will be light refreshments.

Please take just a few moments to register right here.

We so value your partnership and look forward to sharing this special opportunity with you.

Jonathan Der and Heather Nicholson, Seneca Creek Student Ministry