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Off to Fresno

Friday, December 22, 2006 by Mike Lovato

First thing tomorrow morning Nicole and I will be heading out to Fresno to visit my family for a few days. I'm looking forward to a few days of relaxing. Everything is in motion for church stuff when I get back, the e-mail's on "out of office" mode, and we've got two suitcases in the process of being packed with way too much stuff. I'll probably be an occasional blogger while I'm gone, but that really won't matter much since I've been that way a lot lately.

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Christmas Party

Tuesday, December 19, 2006 by Mike Lovato


We had our staff Christmas party last night. Lots of fun with a White Elephant exchange, giant burrito, and good people. I'm one of the youngest on our staff so it's a little different crowd than I typically hang with. Here's some of the best White Elephant gifts given:

Lucas - Free Bible that our association just gave all the staff
Montia - giant pair of granny panties
Laura - random bird sculpture that she stole from Montia's office
Teresa - Chia Shrek (this is what I took home! it's going in my new office in January!)

Good times. Here's a pic of me, Nicole, and Jon showing how much fun we are having! (I just got a new camera phone and am enjoying it)

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LCT

Monday, December 18, 2006 by Mike Lovato

Nicole put a few pics up on her blog from the Living Christmas Tree. Check them out.

I Can't Win

by Mike Lovato

Since coming back on staff here last year we've struggled with the amount of people we've taken on trips. Not that we need to have a pure numbers focus, but our high school students just haven't responded well to overnight stuff we've done. We've had maybe 1/3 of our average attendance on some of our big trips which has been much lower than expected.

Anyways, being that that's much lower than expected we've over-bought reservations on a couple things we've done and taken some decent financial hits because of it. So, when I was booking our upcoming winter camp I knew I couldn't take another big hit to our budget so I went much lower than I'd normally like to. Well, now everyone wants to come. We filled up the trip a week before our early-bird deadline and began taking a waiting list. We now have almost as many on the waiting list as are actually signed up to go. In a sorta sad sense, I'm kinda hoping some other church drops out so we can snag all their spots and get everyone in.

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Postcards

Thursday, December 14, 2006 by Mike Lovato

Our ministry has struggled with doing effective follow-up with students. A letter seems too formal and little notecards are kinda expensive and tough to find cool ones. So I decided to make some postcards with our logo on the front and space on the back to write a note. We had similar ones when I worked with Wildside. We're going to run a set for jr. high, high school, and college. I just got the high school ones in today and they turned out pretty sweet. Quick plug for Overnight Prints. They had a super-quick turnaround and a good price. If you're looking for ways to do quick follow-up, notes to students, and other communication - get some postcards in the hands of your leaders and keep a stash for yourself.

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LCT Highlights and Lowlights

Monday, December 11, 2006 by Mike Lovato

Here some of my personal highlights and lowlights of the 2006 Living Christmas Tree.

Highlights
  • Kicking some students butts at HALO
  • Watching Nicole dance and perform on stage...she did awesome
  • Watching Nicole's face as a table of guys discussed their poop while we ate some snacks
  • Hanging with students
  • Being around jr. high students (I'm never around any anymore and I miss it sometimes)
  • Watching my senior pastor play with his new high-tech cell phone backstage before he went on
Lowlights
  • Getting my butt kicked by some students at HALO
  • Stuff that was stolen
  • Tiring days

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Living Christmas Tree

Thursday, December 07, 2006 by Mike Lovato

Our church does this big Christmas production ever year. Basically it's a lot of singing, dancing, a nativity drama deal, and a bunch of teenagers that pop out of a very large Christmas tree with 30,000 lights on it. You kinda have to see it to get the full picture. So, my next few days consist of hanging out with students playing XBOX or hanging out backstage with some volunteers. Good times. You can check out Nicole's post about being in it here.

On a slightly Debbie Downer note, someone stole a bunch of our students' stuff from one of the dressing rooms last night. Most likely one the person who did this is one of the other students in the performance. Bummer.

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Closest Book Meme

Tuesday, December 05, 2006 by Mike Lovato

Got this from Kurt Johnston...

The rules are:
1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the next four sentences on your blog, along with these instructions.
5. Don’t you dare dig for that “cool” or “intellectual” book in your closet! I know you were thinking about it! Just pick up whatever is closest!

I'm at home posting so wasn't sure what I'd find. But my wife has her copy of Help I'm a Student Leader by Doug Fields on the desk so that's it. Although the A to Z Guide to Youth Ministry was very close to it and a potential tie. Here goes:

"You'll know about new students on your school campus before your church leaders do.

Grab a couple of friends and meet new students. Ask them questions and make sure they know you're available to help with any local contacts they may need. These helpful connections can spark friendships, be an answer to the family's prayers, and open the door for new students to be involved in your church youth group."

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A Good End to a Frustrating Day

Sunday, December 03, 2006 by Mike Lovato

My wife and I were driving to grab dinner tonight (which turned out to be an entirely different, long, and frustrating adventure) when we noticed a sign at a new shopping center going up at Van Buren and Wood....Wing Stop is coming to Riverside! We first ate at Wing Stop when they started opening them when we lived in Orange County. Now we will have delicious wings, close to home.

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Frustrating Day

by Mike Lovato

Frustrating morning at church today from two different conversations. First conversation was someone pointing out something about my communication to volunteers that was lacking. I have pretty thin skin and don't take criticism very well (I know this is an area I need to grow in)...so I tend to take things like that hard. Fairly minor issue.....easily fixable.....still hurts to hear.

Second conversation was again frustrating (that's all the details I want to give there).

Then, my wife had some students that were frustrating her this morning. By the time we headed to lunch we just wanted to run some people over in the parking garage at the mall (luckily we didn't).

Mornings like this are hard on me. I know that God is growing me to learn how to better respond to conflict, criticism, and frustration. Still growing...

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A Busy Night

Saturday, December 02, 2006 by Mike Lovato

Kind of a crazy night tonight. We had night of HALO with high school guys tonight. Had about 25 guys show up, about half of those were guests. Very cool.

Also had our college Christmas party tonight. Both these events were happening at the same time so I went to the first part of the college party to have dinner and then headed over for about 3 more hours of HALO. We had about 15 or so at the college party. After I left, they headed out to a Christmas Tree Lane type deal in Rancho Cucamonga. Haven't heard back on how that was yet, but hopefully they had a good time.

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Mike Lovato is a follower of Jesus, husband to Nicole, daddy to Addison, and pastor to teenagers in Riverside, CA.


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