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Winter Camp

Thursday, January 31, 2008 by Mike Lovato

Tomorrow we head up to high school winter camp at Pondo. I'm pretty stoked about it. It's our second year doing winter camp there and they do a GREAT job. My cabin consists of two leaders and 15 high school guys (they put all our group's guys in one cabin).....should be interesting/smelly/fun. I'm also going to try snowboarding for the second time. This means I'll spend lots of time falling on my butt on top of a mountain. Good times. I also just got word of another student who wants to go....we'll see if we can pull that off in the next 16 hours or so. Pray for us this weekend that we have a great time, that the Holy Spirit challenges student's hearts, and that I don't have to take any students to the ER like last year.



Tuesday, January 29, 2008 by Mike Lovato

Ok, so this 85 year old guy at our church named John ended up sitting next to 3 students from UC Riverside on Sunday. So what does he do? He invites them over to lunch at his house! They went and everyone had a great time. I loved hearing this story....pure unprogrammed care and love for someone else.


Meetings Part 2

Thursday, January 24, 2008 by Mike Lovato

A few days ago, I posted about meetings. I'm trying to figure out what's best for our ministry's staff to get together. Here's where I'm currently at:

Once a week - we'll meet together formally as a student ministries staff. The goals of this meeting will be encouragement, communication, evaluation, and leadership development. Currently we're going through the PDYM DVD series from Simply Youth Ministry.
Once a month - I'll meet formally one-on-one with each team member. The goals will be similar, but on an individual basis.
Planning - Planning and details beyond the regular meetings will happen in more informal conversations and meetings as-needed.

Griffin has a great post on meetings here.

Part 3 Coming Soon: What to do with regular volunteer meetings

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My Kid

Monday, January 21, 2008 by Mike Lovato

Nicole and I were able to hear our baby's heartbeat for the first time this morning! It was pretty cool to hear what's going on in there and to realize there's an actual person in there. 13 weeks today and Baby Paquito is doing great!


A Great Night

by Mike Lovato

Last night we had an occasional event we call The Hub. We get together at a student's house and have some sort of experiential worship time. Our high school intern, Ben, ran the one last night and knocked it out of the park. He had them focus on prayer through four stations - one on Old Testament prayers, one on New Testament prayers, one where they actually prayed for each other or whatever they wanted, and one where they praised God for His attributes.

It was a really cool night. I tend to have a hard time giving up control and letting other leaders run with stuff, but I was able to completely hold back and let it be Ben's thing. He did a fantastic job.



Saturday, January 19, 2008 by Mike Lovato

Went and saw Cloverfield last night. A few thoughts:
  • GREAT movie!
  • You will either absolutely love or absolutely hate this movie. I don't know if I've ever seen so many people leave a theater or heard the most awkward mix of applause and "boos" at the end of a movie.
  • I was nauseous pretty much the whole time. It's all shot from the perspective of a single handheld camcorder. I had to close my eyes sometimes or look away from the screen to try not to throw up. Well worth it though.
  • Go see this movie and decide if you like it for yourself.



Thursday, January 17, 2008 by Mike Lovato

Ministry can have a lot of meetings that come with it. I'm trying to figure out the best way for our Student Ministries staff to meet together. On the one hand, I don't want to have meetings for the sake of meetings. On the other hand, I do want to have meetings scheduled so that we meet BEFORE we hit crisis mode (Podcast #7 of the Practically Speaking podcast has some great stuff to say on this).

Our current staff consists of myself (full-time), a part-time jr. high guy (Lucas), and two interns who are in college (Ben and Chris). In the near future we'll be bringing on a part-time college guy and potentially a college intern.

I have a few questions as I've been trying to figure this out:
  • How often should we meet all together?
  • How often should we meet one-on-one?
  • How much of the meetings should be focused on planning and how much on development?
  • Should Lucas meet only with our jr. high intern or should I have a development role in there?
This post is getting long so for now, I'll throw this out there for those of you in ministry - how much meeting is best in your setting and what do you do in those meetings? I'll let you know where I think I'm landing for us in a couple days.

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I'm Reed Smith (or Reed Fish)

by Mike Lovato

Nicole and I just got done watching an indie flick called "I'm Reed Smith." It's a cool movie and you should check it out. I can't even find it on IMDB, but I know you can get it from NetFlix. It's a slightly quirky romantic comedy with a touch of drama.

UPDATE: Ok, I'm a dork and evidently have no short-term memory. It's I'm Reed Fish.


We Got the House

Tuesday, January 15, 2008 by Mike Lovato

Found out yesterday that we got the house. Then today I signed my life away on a one-year lease for it. If you're not doing anything on February 9th, come help me move.


Our High School Staff

Monday, January 14, 2008 by Mike Lovato

This is our paid high school staff. Me and Ben. I'd be a little scared if these were my kid's youth pastors. We look like we're on two very different types of drugs.

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Where I'm At

by Mike Lovato

Those who know me very well know that I can be a somewhat up-and-down person emotionally. I come off very even-keeled, but I really do go up and down a lot. But right now, I'm feeling pretty good about life...

Right now...
I'm excited to become a dad
I love my wife more and more as time goes on (she's pretty amazing)
I feel content (in a good way) about where I'm doing ministry
I feel hopeful for the future of my ministry
I am living out my calling to invest in younger leaders both inside and outside my church
I am blessed to be a child of God....totally undeserved, but totally loved by Him
I'm excited that they're playing a bunch of Smashing Pumpkins at Coffee Depot


BIG News

Sunday, January 13, 2008 by Mike Lovato

Nicole and I are having a baby! The baby's due on July 28th. We just told our students about it today, but have been slowly leaking it to some people over the last couple months. You can read Nicole's post about it here. We're pretty excited to start this next phase of life. We were some of the first among our friends to get married and now we're pretty much the last to start having kids. I'll keep you posted as stuff develops!

Here's a pic of my kid!


House Update

Friday, January 11, 2008 by Mike Lovato

We decided to go ahead and move forward with renting the house. The green carpet is definitely very green, but didn't bother me quite as much as my wife (this is also probably why she gets the final say on all our decorating). It's going to be a great place...great backyard, patio, lots of space, cool location. If you know Riverside, basically you walk past one other house and you're at the UCR agricultural research fields - bunch of citrus. So it's got a nice little buffer right there.

We had a bit of an ordeal turning in our application. Ended up having to print off extra bank statements and all sorts of stuff. Took about two hours to get everything done.

Then we had a message when we got home tonight saying our application looks "very good." Well, thank you, your application looks very good as well. Now....did we get the house? We'll know for sure on Monday.


New House?

Wednesday, January 09, 2008 by Mike Lovato

Nicole and I are toying with the idea of renting a different house. We've struggled with whether to rent again or to try and jump in to buy a foreclosure with all the craziness going on. Anyways, the house we're looking at is in Canyon Crest, 1377 square feet, 3 bedrooms, 2 baths. It's almost 300 more square feet than we have right now and the rent is about $100 less.

It's a nice neighborhood with a great shopping center nearby and a brand new park going in close too.
It's a quick shot into downtown Riverside.

I currently have about a 5 minute commute. It would probably increase to 10-15 minutes without traffic and 20-30 minutes with traffic.
It has really dark green carpet. Nicole's seen it; I haven't. We'll see if we could live with that.
We could no longer walk to the Plaza from our house.


Crazy Week

Monday, January 07, 2008 by Mike Lovato

This week is a little overwhelming feeling at the moment. There's a ton going on in our ministry. There are also a lot more relational meetings on my agenda this week which I'm pretty excited about. On Tuesday, we have a second meeting with a potential college pastor who I'm very excited about. I'm having lunch Wednesday with our van rental guy with the hopes of having some spiritual conversation with him. On Thursday, I have lunch with a volunteer who's got a ton of stuff going on in his Bible study group right now (student's dad with cancer, other stuff). We're having our student ministries staff over for dinner on Thursday night which should be fun. Then, on Friday Nicole and I are headed to Disneyland and will hook up with my dad for a birthday lunch somewhere in Anaheim.

Oh yeah and I have to price out some video game systems, pool table, foosball table, and love sacs for our new student ministry room. And I start teaching my class at CBU on Wednesday. And I have to make a decision about a really cool opportunity to influence other youth workers.

Even with all this going on, I'm excited about it. I like moving at a fast pace and I'm not feeling too anxious about this, but rather ready to tackle it.


Random Stuff Going On

Wednesday, January 02, 2008 by Mike Lovato

  • Getting ready to start teaching my class at CBU next week
  • Meeting with potential college pastor candidates and trying to figure out our next interim step
  • Figuring out the details of our new student ministry room....they're ready to start electrical work as soon as we nail down a couple items
  • Trying to get our Spring Calendar done and printed for Sunday
  • Parents letter for upcoming sex series
  • Planning our upcoming SERVE Day on the 19th....we want to plug students into a few different projects over the course of the day

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I'm an Uncle!

by Mike Lovato

My first nephew was born on New Year's Eve at 3:09pm! His name is Pascual Edward (named after our grandpas). He was 8 pounds, 2 ounces and 21 3/4 inches long. He's a super cute baby that looks a lot like my brother. We drove up to Santa Barbara yesterday to see him. It's going to be fun being an uncle! Here are a couple pics of me holding him.



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


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