Saturday, October 24, 2009

Why We Work Together #4: Because we can't afford not to!

The Westmoreland County Youth Network has five community networks - one of those, the Penn Trafford Youth Network, started meeting last February. By summer, they were deep into planning an event to reach out to students in their school district. They decided to bring a BMX stunt bike team (ProTown BMX from Greenville, NC) to their area. Problem was it was going to cost $4500. (including the Crucified Ministries skateboard team). None of the three churches involved (another church joined in later) could afford all of that by themselves. But by combining their resources, as well as finding concerned adults who also made donations, they were able to do together what they couldn't have done alone. ProTown BMX (pictured below with our Youth Pastors and the Skateboard guys) came to Harrison City on Oct. 24th and they were AWESOME! They gave a great presentation of the Gospel and did some incredible jumps. We highly recommend them.

On a side note, we have to give praise to God - it was raining that morning, but stopped when the event was scheduled to begin. It took some time to dry off the parking lot (using towels and a leaf blower), but everyone got to see the show. The rain and wind kicked back in just when the event was ending. God is good to us!

Why We Work Together #3: To discover resources we didn't know were there!

Back during the summer, the directors of a local camp asked us how they could let youth pastors in the area know about the great climbing walls they have at their camp's adventure center. Our group of youth pastors in the Fayette County Youth Network had an event planned for October, but in early September those plans fell through. So we asked the camp directors if we could have our event at their place - that way they could show it off to the youth pastors in the area and we could still have our event together. 80 students from 10 youth groups got to experience the climbing walls and a lot of the other cool stuff that this camp has to offer youth groups. Our network youth pastors enjoyed the climbing walls as well as you can see pictured above. If we hadn't already been working together and if we hadn't been willing to work with these camp folks, we would have missed out on a great experience!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Why We Work Together #2: We've got great resources to share with each other

At our Greensburg Youth Network meeting a couple months ago (pictured above), we were talking and discovered that some of us had curriculum that others of us really wanted to use, but couldn't afford to buy at the time. So we started making a Curriculum list of stuff that the guys are willing to share with each other on our Greensburg Youth Network Facebook group (which needs updated right now) . There's so much great stuff out there and it would be impossible for any one church to buy it all - so why not share what we have. So that's another reason we work together - because we all have stuff that can be helpful to each other!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Why We Work Together #1: We share the same burning passion

We find that youth pastors work together so well and so easily because we share the same burning passion - for teenagers to know, worship, love and serve Jesus. That drives us - it's why we do what we do. The desire to help students know Jesus simply outweighs all other things that might divide us.

Our youth pastor networks started out the 2009 school year with two events (same event different locations) designed to equip, inspire, and challenge Christian teenagers to share their faith with their friends at school, to look at school as if it were a 9 Month Mission Trip. Between the two events youth pastors extended that challenge to 800 students from 40 youth groups and at least that many schools.

Thing is, while helping teenagers know Jesus is a passion we all share, we all also know that Christian teenagers are by far the best ones to express the truth and love of God to their friends. So the passion that drives us, also motivates us to work together on the best ways to get this job done including equipping our students.

And the fact is, they will do that job better when they know they are not alone. There is strength in numbers - it's just a fact. It's the reason the author of Hebrews tells us not to forsake assembling together. We need the strength we gain from being together, and teenagers need that strength perhaps much more so.

There's just something empowering, strengthening, renewing, refreshing, energizing, and encouraging about coming together with those whose hearts burn with the same desire that your does - whether it's a group of youth pastors together over lunch or an auditorium full of worshiping teenagers.

Pictured top: Youth pastors from the The Murrysville (PA) Youth Network with Revive at their school year kick off
Pictured below: The Fayette County Youth Network's school year kick off with Rush of Fools leading worship