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.