Thursday, August 26, 2010

REFUGE Kickoff & New 6th Graders

We had an amazing time at the Porch last night for our first REFUGE of the school year and new 6th Grade transition class.  Last night's service confirmed for me that we made the right decision combining our middle and high school services into one.  There was a great energy in the room and our high school students seemed to really embrace the task of mentoring the younger students who came.  I began a new series last night called "Godly Training" which will take us all the way through the book of 1 Timothy.  This series will last until the end of January when our 6th grade students finish their small groups and begin coming to REFUGE.  Speaking of our 6th grade students, we had 36 new 6th graders last night show up at the Porch for the first time.  AMAZING!!!  Most of them were somewhat timid (as you would expect) but by the end of the night they were about to bust down the door to the big room so they could get in there to play. I'm very excited about this new 6th grade group and our new format for moving them into the student ministry.  They've got great leaders who are going to take good care of them!

I've got one last thing to say about last night before I go.  There was definitely a sense last night that God was doing something in our midst.  There was an energy and excitement unlike anything I've felt on Wednesdays in my time as the student pastor at Parkwood.  Here's my prayer: that what God began last night will continue to build amongst our students.  I am praying for momentum for this ministry going into the fall.  I am praying that students will begin to embrace the challenge of inviting friends to come with them every week to REFUGE.  I am praying that the Porch will be packed with students from all over Gaston county who are coming to worship and hear the Word of God proclaimed.  Please join me in praying for God to do this in our midst!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Getaway Blog- Last Day

Getaway is quickly coming to an end.  Our dorms are clean and the students are doing the last camp quiet time.  In a few moments the band will lead them for one final time in worship and pastor Jeff will close out camp.  Last night our students were challenged to continue in holiness.  Students who had never publicly professed faith in Christ were challenged to stand and do so at the end of the service.  Several students stood and professed Christ for the first time!  Our students enjoyed their last night a free time and have had a great camp.

I'll give my take on our camp experience in a few days.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Getaway Blog- Day 3b & 4a

Our student had a great time last night and this morning despite the rain that rolled in late last night and has continued, on and off, this morning.  After free time and prayer gatherings our students were led in an amazing time of worship and then pastor Jeff got to the heart of what he has been leading to all week.  His message was clear, we, as believers, are to live holy lives.  His message challenged many in the room to kneel and repent during the second half of the service.  For the conclusion of the service Chad led the students to read scripture out loud.  This was an awesome experience as student after student stood and read passages that had been speaking to their hearts.  The night ended with the last Late Nite of the week with the boys winning the week's game count.

This morning our students were again greeted by our soccer hooligans and watched the third installment of the intern video.  The it was finally my (Ryan) turn to preach.  I concluded our walk through Isaiah chapter 6 with a challenge for our students to answer God's call to "go".  The students are currently in small groups (high school), studying the final Bible study out of the book of Daniel, and in recreation (middle school) doing a scavenger hunt that has taken them all over campus and the beach.  More later...

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Getaway Podcast

We've finally gotten the podcasts working from Getaway.  We've uploaded all morning and evening messages here.  Enjoy!

Getaway Blog- Day 2 & 3a

Sorry for not having an update yesterday.  We've had some internet issues.

Monday night ended with our first Late Nite.  The guys competed against the girls in a peel and eat lemon challenge, hair style challenge, and balloon and pantyhose challenge with the guys sweeping the night.  After Late Nite our students were sent off to their rooms and some went to bed on time and other, well, let's just say they sleep better for night two.

Tuesday morning began with our first Morning Celebration with a morning show hosted by our two American soccer hooligans  (Kem Lindsay & Casey Shaw) who read news from the day and award group leader of the day.  Our worship team lead in worship and Matt Agee began our morning sermon series out of Isaiah 6.  Matt challenged our students to be confronted with the holiness of God.  Recreation on Tuesday was team building games, with most everyone's favorite being the group skiing game.  Small group Bible study #2 returned to the book of Daniel to see that the truth of God is to be shared with others.  Free time saw most of our students at the beach and in the water until an attack by jellyfish larva that caused all of them to head for the shore in a hurry.  Last night's worship was incredible with Jeff challenging our students to see how Jesus was holy in his birth, life, death, and is still holy.  He also presented the gospel last night.  Please pray for our students who are lost that heard the gospel last night.  We ended the night again with Late Nite.  The girls finally won a late night game but the boys are still winning 5-1.

Wednesday morning began with Celebration and were greeted again by our soccer hooligans.  Dustin preached the second message from Isaiah 6 and challenged our students to understand their sin in light of the holiness of God.  Our student had water day at recreation with giant water balloons and water buckets everywhere.  Their 3rd small group Bible study was back in the book of Daniel to see that God would always be with them.  More later...

Monday, June 28, 2010

Getaway Blog- Day 1

Our Buses all arrived on time and Getaway got underway with orientation (yes, we cover the rules first) and then our students headed off for a fried chicken dinner.  After dinner, our students found out what small groups they were in and had there first small group Bible study based on the book of Daniel.  Today's study focused on standing firm against the trials and temptations of the world.  After Bible study our students worship with Chad Pollard and Band and then heard the first Getaway message from Pastor Jeff.  Jeff will be focusing on the Holiness of God this week with his main text being 1 Peter 1:13-16.  Students learned that the LORD is holy in all he says and does.  They were challenged by Jeff to leave the wadding pool get into the breakers.  It's almost time for late nite to start with loud and crazy games and videos then off to bed.  It has stormed here for the past couple hours but that hasn't slowed our students down one bit!  More tomorrow...

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Getaway Blog- Load and Travel Day

For most of our Getaway participants camp has not yet started.  But for a few of us, Getaway began the minute pastor Jeff said "amen" this morning (that is, if you don't count the weeks we've been preparing).  Today the advance team loaded up the trailer and headed to the beach.  Our set and sound system is much larger than it has ever been and everything almost didn't make it into the trailer.  Dustin and Brandon are great puzzle builders and finally got it all to work.  We arrived at the beach this evening to hard rain and a pretty tremendous lightening storm.  Most of our team will sleep late in the morning and get ready for setup and the arrival of our buses full of students.  I can't wait to see what God is going to do in the lives of our students this week!  Bed now, more tomorrow...

Friday, May 28, 2010

Why We Do Getaway?

Next month at this time our students will be boarding buses at Parkwood and our staff will be frantically setting up at Garden City Chapel to try and get ready for their arrive at Getaway 2010.  Now that we are only one month away and with the first deadline coming up this Sunday, I thought I'd answer the question "Why we do Getaway?".  For those who will read this and don't understand the cost, man hours, and creative energies that go into making a successful camp; you may never ask the above question.  But for those who know how much it takes to pull camp off every summer; surely you've wondered, even if briefly, is it worth it.  My answer is a resounding, "YES!!!".

First,  Getaway gives our students an opportunity to get away.  This is one of the main ingredients in a successful camp.  Bringing them somewhere that is set apart from their normal routines and distractions will help to clear their minds to think about things of God.  You might think that the beach is full of other distractions and we are just moving them from one set of distractions to another.  This can be true for some of our students.  But when you combine the fact that we have taken them somewhere that is not home and that they spend several hours a day in worship, prayer, small group Bible study, and personal quiet time then you see that the new distractions are minimal compared to what they face during their normal routine.  Going somewhere like the beach also allows our students a fun place to invite their lost friends to, so they can come experience the truth of God as well.

Second, our version of camp is unique because of the involvement of our pastoral team.  It's not just our student ministry team that make Getaway work.  This summer 7 of our 9 pastors, 8 interns, and a couple associate level guys will be at Getaway serving in one capacity or another.  Very few other churches will have their senior pastor and worship pastor leading at their camps this summer.  Who would be better to speak into the lives of our students than their senior pastor?  Who would be better to teach and engage our students in worship than the man God has called to fulfill that role on a weekly basis at Parkwood?  There just isn't anyone better.  The fact that many of our pastors go and cook, drive, and help out in other ways should speak volumes of how important we truly believe Getaway is.  It also gives our students the chance to see our pastors and their families in a relaxed and fun environment which is not always the case while at church.

Third,  Getaway gives many adults who are active in our church the opportunity to serve God by serving students at Getaway.  We could take our students to a pre-packed youth camp, where few adults chaperones are needed, and they would have a good time and be challenged by God.  But doing Getaway the way we do gives the adults in our church an opportunity to use their spiritual gifts of leadership, teaching, hospitality, mercy, and encouragement in a very real way.  This is why we try to bring as many adults as we have room for, because Getaway is much more than just a student ministry event.  It really does have an impact on Parkwood as a whole.

Finally, there is no other time during the year that I am able to see God work in the lives of so many students.  If your student has ever come home from events like 180 Weekend and Fall Retreat with a renewed passion for the Lord, then imagine what would happen over 5 days instead of just a weekend.  In my time serving as the student pastor at 4 different churches I have been able to see God save dozens of students, call many into missions or ministry, arrest the attention of believing teenagers who have become lackadaisical or complaisant in their faith, and a myriad of other amazing things while at camp.  Seeing God do these things year after year make it personally worth it every time.

These are just a few of the reasons that Getaway is definitely worth the money, time, and energy.  The question now becomes, is it worth if for your family to make it possible for the teenager in your household to go or maybe even make it possible for your teenager's lost friends to go to camp with them. Many parents say, "They can always go next year".  This is true, for most of us there is always another year.  But, having just watched another graduating class have their Senior Night at church, we should be reminded of how fast the teenage years go by and not waste any opportunity for God to work in the lives of our students.  I'm praying that God will fill every space we have for camp this year.  Not for the sake of having a big camp.  But so many more students will have an encounter with the Living God while at Getaway.

Sign your student up now at

Monday, May 24, 2010

Summer Parents Meeting

We had a great turnout last night at our summer parents meeting.  Below are the highlights for those who were unable to attend.


A list of summer events (June - August) was distributed and discussed at the meeting.  This handout is available at the Porch and will also be an insert on Sunday mornings in the Priority for the next few weeks. You can also view this same information on our student ministry calendar.


Most of our students and their parents know about Getaway.  This incredible week at the beach has been a life changing event for so many students at Parkwood and we are praying that this year will not be any different.  However, the cost is about to go up on Getaway.  Students must be signed up and have paid their $40 deposit by May 30 or the price goes from $190 to $200.  Please do not allow money to be there reason your student does not attend Getaway.  Scholarship money and payment plans are available for those in need.


While our mission week sign up is complete I wanted to let parents know who they could contact if they had specific questions about our various trips.  The trip leaders are listed below.

6th Grade- J. Scott Carter
7th - 8th Grade- Tina Santiago, Greg Farmer
Roanoke, VA- Scott Harris
Little River, SC- Dustin Hoyle
Romania- Ryan Brice


We have 3 college students (Casey Shaw, Elyse Darnell, Brittany Shaw)  who will be serving as summer interns with our student ministry this summer.  When you have the opportunity to interact with them, please let them know how happy you are that they are serving our students this summer.


     Reason for a Change

- Bible study options for all ages need to be offered during both services so families can worship together and attend their respective Bible studies at the same time.

- Having Bible study classes available for everyone at both hours allows parents to have some choice in who teaches their teenager.

    New Schedule

Eventually we hope to offer graded classes at both the 9:00am and the 10:30am Bible study times.  This will not be possible for several reasons during the first several semesters of our new schedule.  As we see how the groups divide and as we add new students to our classes we will begin to birth new student classes until our goal is meet.  Below you will see what classes will be offered for students beginning September 4.  Beside each class is the name of the primary couple who will be teaching the class.  Each class will also have 2-3 additional adults helping since some of our classes will be larger than they are currently.  Each class will be given the use of 2 Bible study rooms so breakout groups will be possible on Sunday mornings as well.  The only groups that will be offered graded classes beginning in September are our 6th graders and our seniors.  A 6th grade only class will be offered at 9:00am for those who would like there 6th grader to be in a group of only 6th graders.  I will also teach a seniors only class at 10:30am and will cover the Foundations material that will be introduced in adult Bible study classes in the fall.  6th graders and seniors are free to go to Bible study at the hour when their class is not being offered they will just be in one of the combined classes.  Please see the schedule below.

9:00am-  6th Grade Class- (Doug & Angie Helms)
               7th & 8th Grade Class- (open)
               9th - 12th Grade Class- (Brian & Jennifer Hedgepath)

10:30am- 6th - 8th Grade Class- (Kasy & Ashli Denton)
                9th - 11th Grade Class- (Brent & Susan Brewer)
                12th Grade Class- (Ryan & Cristy Brice)

     How To Help

- Decide what factors are important to your family and plan accordingly.

   ~ Parents' adult Bible study time of time you volunteer
   ~ Time your family prefers to worship
   ~ Leader for your teenagers class

What will make this system work is if families sit down together and discuss why they are going to attend worship and Bible study at a particular time and then stick to that schedule as often as possible.

- Help your teenager see who family worship is important.

Some of our teenagers might feel like we are dividing their group of friends.  Please help us by begin positive about this change as you discuss this with them and try to instruct them about why having all members of the family in worship together is important.

If you have any questions about anything that was covered at our parents meeting please feel free to contact me.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Parkwood's New Website and Another Blog Attempt

Since Parkwood is releasing a new (and very cool I might add) website this month (you can see it here once it's released), I thought I should start over with my blog and see if I can keep up with it this time. Once the new website is released we will link to my blog from the student ministry section of the main site. I will give updates here on what's going on at Parkwood's student ministry, info about upcoming events, and other stuff that I feel like writing about. I'll also welcome questions or comments on this page as well.