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National Youth Worker's Conference Day 2

Tuesday, September 23, 2008 by Mike Lovato

Here was my day:
  • Breakout about networking - not much new info here
  • Breakout about marketing - good conversation about use of online media
  • Lunch at The Pie Wagon - I'd never experienced food quite like this. They have what they call in the South "Meat n' Three". You get one type of meat and three side items. Good, greasy Southern food served cafeteria style. I paid for it later as I missed the Skit Guys' set and spent time in the bathroom instead.
  • General Session with Derwin Gray AKA the Evangelism Linebacker (see video below) - great message....main point was that God is attracted to brokenness. There's a theme (at least for me) this week that what God is doing in me is more important than what I do in our student ministry.
  • Dinner at Paradise Park Trailer Resort (nope, didn't make that one up)
  • General Session with Mark Matlock - interesting session on wisdom....a little more academic whereas the other sessions have been more inspirational....but he shared some interesting thoughts he's working through re: a model of Regular Life, Pseduo Eternal Life, and Eternal Life all based on some initial thoughts from Ecclesiastes. He also talked about the classic story of a hero - Ordinary Life, Call to Action, Mentor, Trials, and one last point I can't remember.
  • Chatted with Mark for a few about his Planet Wisdom conferences.....wanted to see if it might be a good winter camp replacement option for our jr highers (Lucas, you should check out his site).
That was my day. Now enjoy the Evangelism Linebacker.


National Youth Worker's Conference Day 1

Monday, September 22, 2008 by Mike Lovato

Just finished up the first day of the conference. Had a great time so far. My breakout on student leadership went well. Good crowd, good questions.

Phil Vischer, creator of VeggieTales, spoke tonight in the first session. His story was pretty incredible as he talked about the building of this huge ministry that all came crashing down. His main point was to challenge us in considering whether we are more passionate about our dream or God. That's a great question to regularly ask ourselves....are we more pumped about the latest thing happening in our ministry or are we OK with knowing God alone?


Square Peg Alliance

Sunday, September 21, 2008 by Mike Lovato

I'm in Nashville this week for a conference and got picked up by a former student who lives here now. He'd asked me yesterday if I wanted to check out a show while I was here and after a little thinking I decided, "heck yes, I'm going to be in this sweet music city of Nashville.....I should go hear some music."

So we went to this little place called 12th & Porter (located conveniently on the corner of 12th & Porter). Let me just say this is one of the sweetest setups for a little club. The stage was about the size of the audience area. We hung out up in a scary little balcony where some of his friends had saved a seat.

These 4 artists performed. They're part of this deal called the Square Peg Alliance. I highly recommend you check them out. It's a group of artists who get together to encourage each other, play music, and seemingly to have a good time. Great mix of good music, interesting lyrics, and witty humor.


College Ministry

Monday, September 15, 2008 by Mike Lovato

One of the areas I oversee at our church is our college ministry. I wanted to walk you through some of how we work on connecting new students to the ministry.

When it comes to connecting new students in the fall, we've got a pretty detailed plan. First, you need to know a little about our church and city. Our church is literally across the street from a great Christian school, California Baptist University. We're about 10 minutes down the street from Riverside Community College with thousands of students. We're about 15-20 minutes across town from UC Riverside which has over 17,000 students. We focus a lot of our connection efforts on CBU as they're super-close, but have seen a major increase in RCC and UCR students in the last year.

What we do at CBU:
  • We have a large banner that we put up on the corner of our church property advertising our college ministry. It looks REALLY good and it's amazing how many students we talk to that reference the banner.
  • Table at involvement fair for new students. We had fall calendars as well as an invite card for our tuesday night gathering.
  • First big Sunday back we do a free lunch for college students.....we had 18 feet of burrito this year...and we ran out.
  • First Tuesday when school's back in session we called it "Sundae Tuesday." Kicked off the year with worship/teaching and then had an ice cream sundae bar afterwards.
  • All of the students who attend on Sunday mornings get a phone call from a student within two days thanking them for coming and letting them know about other stuff going on.
What we're doing with RCC and UCR (still a major work in progress):
  • Our evangelism pastor is basically the campus pastor for Campus Crusade for Christ at RCC and is on campus weekly.
  • We will be doing some sort of BBQ/welcome event for UCR students (they're on the quarter system and move in this Sunday). We've also begun partnering some with the Asian-American Christian Fellowship there.
Where we need to head:
  • We need some sort of on-campus presence at both of these public schools at the beginning of the school year - maybe a table handing out free blue books, coffee, or something else.
  • We need some sort of on-going Bible study/small group presence happening on the UCR campus that's led by students in our church.
  • We need to continue building on the natural friendship networks that exist. This has been what's moved us forward with UCR students.....students connecting those other students they know.


Fall Ministry Tweaks

Thursday, September 04, 2008 by Mike Lovato

We kicked off our midweek program last Wednesday night and I'm making a few intentional/unintentional tweaks to it.

Using more video - students respond so amazingly well to video. Last week we used a goofy Hasselhoff video as an opener. This week we used a spoken word worship-type video to segue from a game to a mellow music set. Simple little change that adds a great feel to our program. I don't have much time to create videos these days so it'll mostly be YouTube and purchased stuff.

Seeking more volunteers - I decided last week that we need 10 adult volunteers (besides myself and an intern) to really have the capacity to grow and create a great environment on Wednesday nights. We had two to start with. Last night two of my Sunday volunteers showed up and said they're going to be here now on Wednesdays. I hadn't asked them so this was super cool. 6 more to go....

Utilizing our volunteers better - This is one I've partially started on through an individual conversation, but I need to gather our volunteers to walk them through it. I essentially need volunteers on Wednesdays to hang with students, connect new students, and handle distractions. I probably need to sit down and think through how to use them better in program stuff as well.

Weekly prayer time - We're doing a brief 10-15 minute prayer time that starts 45 minutes before the program. Any students or leaders who want to show up are welcome. Last night it was me and a guy I grabbed last minute. The last few months I've just felt this sense of needing to elevate the level of prayer in our ministry.

Planning better- Trying to make sure we have the whole night sketched out in detail and then going over it beforehand with the involved parties. A little planning goes a long way. Definitely implementing Planning Center more and more.

What tweaks are you making to your ministry this fall?