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We're in!

Wednesday, February 28, 2007 by Mike Lovato

Just found out a few minutes ago that we got the house we were applying to rent! I'm pretty stoked and we'll move in on March 24th. Any Riverside-area people that want to help are welcome to join us!



by Mike Lovato

My friend Puddles has an interesting post today about getting students excited about events. I'm including his post below along with my response I gave him.

"I love my job as a Jr. High youth pastor. It is amazing to see how God can use me to minister to students. It is the norm for these kids to show up Sunday mornings, falling over in their chairs because they are so tired, and doing my best to disciple them and entertain them at the same time. The students seem to love their small groups, mainly because they get to hangout with their friends, but for the life of me, I can not get them excited and signed up for special events.

We have a great event, or so I thought, coming up and thought the students would love it but I cant get them to sign up (especially the guys.)

What do I need to do? Do I need to spice up the announcements? I do have wonderful memories of singing the announcements to the tune of breakaway by Kelly Clarkson. Videos?

I would say all churches have this problem but I know that's not the case. I have worked at other churches. It seemed to not be an issue.

All right, if you are one of the 3 youth pastors who reads this blog, help a brother out.
Even if you have never worked in ministry and have no idea what I'm talking about, I would still love your ideas. Thanks!"

My Response:

I'd say this is an issue in most churches, especially nowadays. I've discovered the same thing here and I've thought maybe it's a high school student thing (as opposed to jr. high). But maybe not.

Anyways, three thoughts:
1. Students don't sign up individually; they sign up in groups. Implication: personally go after key students and it will have a ripple effect.
2. Make sure students have some type of ownership in the event. If it's their idea or they have a role to play, they're more likely to be involved.
3. Experiment. If one thing doesn't work, try something else next time.


And now we wait...

Tuesday, February 27, 2007 by Mike Lovato

We applied to rent a house today. It's around the corner from Riverside Plaza and we're pretty excited about it. My commute to the church campus will shorten from 7.5 miles to 2.5 miles. We should find out in the next few days if we're getting in.



by Mike Lovato

Don't worry, no spoilers here if you missed last night's episode....

Last night's Heroes episode was great. Right now, Heroes is everything that LOST could and should be. The episode gave us some answers and character background yet still raised new questions without making you want to shoot yourself or the producers (as LOST has been quite good at lately).

Now I'm excited for the rest of the season!

(Dear LOST Producers, perhaps I can say this about your show again if you will help your viewers out by moving this stinking story forward.)



Sunday, February 25, 2007 by Mike Lovato

Ok, it's 10:30 on Sunday night, we were out for 3 and a half hours at a dinner for our building campaign and are just now watching the Oscars. I happened to read a headline on my home page so I know who won Best Picture, but Nicole's sitting on the couch with me and doesn't know yet. Anyways, not the point.

The point - is it just me or are the Oscars trying to appeal to a younger demographic this year? There has been a ton of random comedy, random music stuff, random dancer people. Doesn't seem like the normal Oscars.....and it's actually making me want to watch the rest of it.



Friday, February 23, 2007 by Mike Lovato

Well, Nicole and I officially came to a decision this week that we'll be joining a team from our church that is heading to London for a week in August. We'll be doing Vacation Bible School as well as ESL classes in West London. We'll be working with people from several different countries that I can't remember all of at the moment (so I won't attempt to mention them all), but mostly people from Hindu and Muslim backgrounds. I'm excited about the team. There are two different families with teenagers going as well as another high school student who's thinking about it. Rounding out the team are Ron and Renee Harvey (Ron is a pastor at Mag), Dick and Eileen Mobley (CBU profs), and some other people I'm forgetting. Should be cool.

I have a couple thoughts on my missions trip involvement in general, but they will have to wait for another post.



Thursday, February 22, 2007 by Mike Lovato

I'm feeling a bit unproductive. Spent a while in a meeting this morning with the different age-group staff in our church to chart out how we'll be transitioning room space during the construction process over the next few years. Nothing too exciting, I think we nailed some stuff down. Then I had a good lunch with one of the pastors at our church. Then I took care of some stuff at the office and headed over to Coffee Depot with the intentions of working on stuff for next Wednesday's message and for my talk for jr. high winter camp (we're teaming up with Saddleback, Mariners, and Journey). Unfortunately I didn't get here until about two hours later than I'd hoped and have gotten virtually nothing done. I'm going home.

The bright light is we're looking at two different rental houses tonight - one downtown and one in Magnolia Center right by the Plaza. Should be good times.

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House Hunting

Tuesday, February 20, 2007 by Mike Lovato

Nicole and I are in the process of trying to find a new place to live. We have a great apartment right now, but think we can save some money on rent, get some more space, and be closer to the church. So far, it's a bit of a frustrating process. Stuff gets snatched up really quick in the neighborhood we'd like to live in (Wood Streets). Hopefully we can find something we like in the next couple weeks.


New Youth Room

Sunday, February 18, 2007 by Mike Lovato

We're in the process of designing a new youth room as part of the "Building for Tomorrow" campaign at our church. I'm pretty excited about it. Here's some of my thoughts:

  • We've never really had dedicated, good youth space. Now we will have a space that students can call their own.
  • I want to remain cautious of being overly reliant on a facility for youth ministry. The room's going to be very cool with a snack bar, cool lighting, video game stuff, foosball tables, and possibly a pool table. But at the end of the day, youth ministry IS relationships and all the other stuff is just crap that's cool to have.
  • Figuring out some of the issues with our youth space (we actually are getting the complete 2nd floors of two buildings) is causing me to have to seriously think through how we'll do ministry in the next few years. The old cliche "we shape our buildings and our buildings shape us" is totally true. I want our space to be shaped in a way that supports how we do ministry.



Wednesday, February 14, 2007 by Mike Lovato

Joe Thorn has a good post today on credibility. The short version of the background of this post is that there has been a bit of discussion and debate lately within my denomination on certain issues that Christians should/should not participate in (specifically alcohol consumption). Joe does a good job of talking through what it looks like when we pursue credibility on extra-biblical issues. Here's a clip:

"One’s credibility can be a fragile thing, for much of it rests in the hands of others. I believe we should seek to build credibility in our lives, churches and ministries through godly character and conduct, but whether people receive it or not is up to them. If I lose credibility in the eyes of some by following the word and example of Jesus than so be it. I’m okay with that. What I am not okay with is seeking to maintain a peculiar form of credibility with anyone based on avoiding certain peccadilloes and keeping sacred traditions."


Trippy God-Moment of My Trip

Sunday, February 11, 2007 by Mike Lovato

The weirdest/coolest moment of the conference just might be yesterday morning. We'd gone through this whole devotional/prayer exercise thing and then they had us partner up. I was with a complete stranger named Tony. The instructions were to ask God for a "gift" for our partner, not for ourselves. In other words, a word or phrase that God might speak to them. A little different for this Baptist kid, but I was like ok. So, Tony starts praying almost immediately he says, "comfort." He said he just closed his eyes and that word popped in his head.

The crazy part is that it was exactly what I needed to hear. The last year has been one of intense emotional and spiritual wrestling for me. It's been a lot of anxiety and a lot of me trying to think through stuff. On top of that, my Grandma's health in the last week has added some to that.

So to think that God gave Tony from Florida this literal word of comfort for me was pretty cool.


Indy, I Have Arrived!

Saturday, February 10, 2007 by Mike Lovato

After a long day of travel (possibly the subject of another post) I made it to Indy yesterday. Some of my initial observations:

  • It's butt cold here.
  • Evidently other states don't believe in toilet seat covers....in CA we have them everywhere. I know the thin layer of paper probably does very little, but it still makes me feel better. I've been laying down strips of toilet paper since I've been here.
  • I think accents are funny.
  • Snow can be pretty, but dirty snow is nasty looking.
  • I like sleeping next to Nicole better than sleeping next to Matt Hall.
  • It's butt cold here.



Thursday, February 08, 2007 by Mike Lovato

So not only was I sick earlier this week (and am still working through it), but it's been kinda a crazy week. My Grandma went in the hospital yesterday. They think it may be something with her heart. She has been super weak for like three weeks but hasn't been eating hardly at all which just makes the weakness worse. Being in the hospital may be a good thing because it will help her get her strength back up. I'd appreciate your prayers.



Tuesday, February 06, 2007 by Mike Lovato

I don't get sick that often but today is the second time within a month that I've been sick. I'll spare you the gross details, but I did make it into the office for about a minute, went into the bathroom, came out a bit later, and promptly told the front desk I was heading home. I'm feeling somewhat better at the moment (after several hours of sleep this afternoon). Hopefully I can feel ok enough to teach my youth ministry class and to teach in high school tomorrow night.


Off to Camp

Friday, February 02, 2007 by Mike Lovato

This afternoon we're heading up to Ponderosa Pines for our high school winter camp. Should be a pretty cool weekend. One of the scarier moments of the weekend will be me finally learning how to snowboard tomorrow afternoon. I'll report back on what bones I break when the weekend is over.



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


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