TCYM “Blessed” Series and some announcments

We are starting a new series called “Blessed” this upcoming Wednesday Wednesday October 10th. You can find more information about it below but before you move their wanted to let you know that this Wednesday is also a Theme Night for the youth. We are having sibling rivalry games.  This event will be fun ways for them to compete against each other and hopefully still be willing to talk to each other as they head home. If you son or daughter does not have siblings in the youth group age they will still have the opportunity to compete and have fun.

1. Be a Student of What They are Learning

Think about the last time you heard the word “blessed.” What came to mind? For many of us—and many of our students—the word blessed conjures up images of the coolest clothes, the newest gadgets and a worry-free life. But when we look at what God has to say about being blessed, we realize that we probably have things pretty mixed up. Because if being blessed is more about our relationships—and what we do with them—than the stuff we have, we may have some reevaluating to do in order to redefine what it means to be blessed and realize that we might already be more blessed than we originally thought.

2. Be a Student of Your Student

Entitlement seems to be creeping into our culture through every mode possible—television, magazines, music. The feeling that we have the right to something—or to many “somethings”—seems to be the new cultural norm. And while it’s easy to blame the media, culture and maybe even other families who seem to give their teenagers everything under the sun, it’s important to remember the hard truth that in reality, entitlement begins at home. What we model to our children is the true determining factor in how they view the world; what the world has to offer and what they are entitled to get from it. But the problem is, for many of us, entitlement isn’t something that our kids alone struggle with. Entitlement is our struggle too.

Has this thought ever crossed your mind: “If only there was more money in our family budget, we could do so much more for our children? They could be on the traveling baseball team, go on all the church trips and have all the latest gadgets.” Come on. Admit it! There has probably been at least one time in your parenting journey that you have wished for more—more money, more time … more something. And this is totally normal. It’s a struggle that we all face. So, just for fun let’s pretend: You are still you, with your spouse, your children and your extended family, but now you have everything you could ever want—every dollar, every resource, every “thing” and every need met (and most every want met too). How does it feel? Do you feel happier, healthier and more fulfilled? Do you feel more “blessed”?

There is an article that came out in “The Atlantic” in April 2011 entitled “The Secret Fears of the Super Rich.” And while you might expect the focus of this article to be the Dow Jones Index, the real estate market or tax reform, what emerged was something much more relatable to the rest of us. What the article uncovered was the reality that even the super rich fear for the well being of their children. As the article’s summary states: “Does great wealth bring fulfillment? An ambitious study by Boston College suggests not. For the first time, researchers prompted the very rich—people with fortunes in excess of $25 million—to speak candidly about their lives. The result is a surprising litany of anxieties: their sense of isolation, their worries about work and love, and most of all, their fears for their children.” (To read the full article, go to

As one respondent of the survey confided, “Other people glorify wealth and think that it means that the wealthy are smarter, wiser, more ‘blessed’ or some other such crock … it’s hard to get other, non-wealthy people to believe it’s not more significant than that … The novelty of money has worn off.”

Can you imagine being able to say that? To say the novelty of money has worn off? Most of us will never be there, but it sure feels good to know that just because someone has enough money to buy anything their heart desires—for themselves or their children—it doesn’t mean that it alleviates their fears. It doesn’t mean that they are more blessed. As a matter of fact, in most cases, it actually ups the ante on the fear and anxiety level.

So, with that in mind, let’s turn back to the idea of entitlement and take a look at an article written by Carey Nieuwhof on the Orange Parents blog—“Five Ways to Fight Entitlement in Your Kids.”

3. Action Point

Take some time to read through the following article by Carey Nieuwhof—Lead Pastor at Connexus Community Church north of Toronto Canada—and discuss with your student how you can put at least 1 of the following 5 suggestions into practice.

Five Ways to Fight Entitlement in Your Kids

By Carey Nieuwhof


Like most parents, you feel this terrible tug.

On the one hand, you want to provide your child with every advantage. On the other hand, sometimes it feels like when you do that, you’re feeding an incredibly unhealthy characteristic in our culture.

For whatever reason, we’re living in the midst of an entitlement epidemic. Probably more than any other generation before us, our generation feels as though we have a right to things that used to be defined as wants, or even privileges.

Here’s how the cycle starts:

On the day your child is born, it’s easy to decide as a parent that you need to give your child every advantage.

So you compete. You made sure he had bright colors in his nursery and exactly the right kind of mobile to stimulate his brain, but now it’s an all out frenzy to ensure your preschooler can swim, skate, hit a ball, paint frameable art, read, write and speak classical Greek before his fourth birthday.

And don’t worry, because by the time you’re done with the race to kindergarten, the culture has taken over feeding the frenzy. Your child has now seen enough advertisements and made enough friends to believe that her every desire not only can be met, but should be met. The boots that every other stylish kid is wearing are not a privilege, they are a right. Or so you’ve been told.

And then other inalienable rights emerge: the right to a phone for texting, iPod touches, Facebook and so much more.

Somewhere in the mix, you found yourself realizing that you are tempted to pay your kids for every “act of service” rendered in the house, from emptying the trash to picking up each sock.

And you realize something is desperately wrong. And you would be correct in that.

So, what do you do to fight entitlement in yourself and in your kids? Here are five suggestions:

1.  Be clear on wants and needs. I joke with my kids that we owe them shelter, food and clothes, and I would be happy to slip a pizza under the door to their cardboard house any time they wish (they are 16 and 20, don’t try this with your 5-year-old, but you get the point.) Take time to explain what is actually a need and what a want is. Culture will never explain it to them. You need to.

2.  Reclaim special occasions. There is nothing wrong with not buying wants for your kids in every day life. Save the special things for special occasions like birthdays, Christmas and the like. You don’t need to indulge for no reason. In fact, you probably shouldn’t.

3.   Set a budget and let them choose. With back to school shopping and seasonal purchases, we started setting a budget with our kids early and then let them choose how they would spend it. They become much more frugal shoppers when all of a sudden they realize that money is limited and they can get more if they shop around.

4.  Establish an allowance and expectations. An allowance is a great way for a child to learn responsibility. We’ve encouraged our kids to give 10 percent of every thing they earn, save 10 percent, and live off the rest (the formula gets more restrictive the closer they get to college). Explain what gets covered and not covered out of that allowance.

5.  Be clear about what you will never pay them for. There are some things that you do because you are a part of the family. You can decide where that lands in your home. Make a list of responsibilities that no one gets paid for that you do because you are part of a family. To help with this, why not ask your kids what a reasonable list looks like? Involving them will help them own the decision. Second, make sure you follow up. And hold them responsible for what you all agreed to do. Otherwise you will be tempted to pay for everything or just roll your eyes daily and do it yourself.

Approaches like these can help raise kids who see life as a series of privileges, who live gratefully, and realize their responsibility to others.

Next youth series (Doubt) and Fall Retreat Praise

Last weekend was our Fall Retreat and it was amazing! I have to really thank every student that went for this being one of our more drama free, encouragement focused, God honoring trips i have ever been on! You guys rock!

This Wednesday we are starting a new series during youth group and i wanted to put some information in everyone’s hands about it. Keep reading to find out more.


Here is an overview of what we’re talking about. Listed below the summary is a “parent cue” to help you dialog with your child about the session. The question is intended not just to be asked by you, but to be responded to by BOTH of you. Use this opportunity to find out what God is teaching your child, and allow your child to see what God is teaching you as well.


Series Overview

Everyone has moments of doubt. We doubt if we are heading in the right direction when going some place new. We doubt if that low-fat snack is really as healthy as it claims to be. We doubt if the people in our lives really care about us—even in spite of the evidence that they do. And sometimes our doubts are about God. Can we trust God? Does God really have our best in mind? What does a particular Bible verse actually mean?

When questions arise, they can be a little unsettling, especially questions about faith. But what if God was big enough to handle the questions? He is. What if God was secure enough to handle our uncertainty? He is. And what if doubt actually paved the way to a deeper belief, a stronger relationship with Christ? It can.


Session One (9/26/2012)

You know those nagging questions that seem to linger in the back of your mind? The ones you hesitate to ever speak out loud, admit you have or let anyone else know you think? Questions like: “Does God hear me when I pray?” “Does He have a plan for my life?” “Does God really have everything under control?” Questions and doubts can be unsettling if they are left unsaid. We begin to think we are alone in our doubt, and often our doubts only grow until they paralyze our faith. But when we learn to admit our doubts openly, we learn that we are not the only ones—that everyone deals with questions. And when we learn to live with doubt, doubt can be a tool that strengthens our faith.

Session One Parent Cue: Do you ever have doubts about God? If so, what are they? What do you do with them—vocalize them or keep them to yourself?

Session Two (10/3/2012)

It’s one thing to recognize that doubt can strengthen faith—but HOW do you get there? How do you handle a doubt that you just can’t seem to move past? One way is to look back. When you look back, you draw on the things you do know to help you live through the things you don’t know or can’t understand. When you remember the things that God has shown you, you remind yourself of a bigger picture that can help you deal with the close-up situation at hand. The ways you have learned about or experienced God in your past are still true in the present, and can be used to pave the way to belief now—in spite of and in the midst of doubt.

Session Two Parent Cue:  What are some things that God has taught you in the past about Himself? How can those things specifically help you with the doubts you now have?

Info for parents about our next youth series “Forward Motion”

Forward Motion

Tomorrow night we are starting a new series called “Forward Motion” at TCYM. Here are some thoughts to consider as your students work their way though this series with us.

1. Be a Student of What They are Learning

We’ve all made resolutions and set goals, but too often we fall short of what we expected to accomplish. Unfortunately it’s often the same when we try to become the Christian we really believe God has called us to be. We fall short of the goal and become increasingly discouraged. In this series, your student will learn that following Christ is more about the small steps we take every day, not about the huge leaps of faith that we think we need to make. They will set a goal, determine the first step and then make it. The series will end with a celebration!


2. Be a Student of Your Student

Many of you crave forward motion in your family. You know what you want your children to be. You want them to be kind, respectful, responsible, intelligent, creative individuals. You want them to be able to succeed when they grow up and leave your home. But sometimes you look at them and you think that it may never happen. Sometimes, between the myriad of parenting books and child-rearing philosophies, you can get lost in the “how to” of raising wonderful kids who become successful adults.


In Reggie Joiner’s Orange Parents post entitled “How to Raise a Jerk,” Joiner encourages parents in a somewhat tongue-in-cheek way about raising kids who become the adults parents want to see them grow into. Here is an excerpt from this post. To read the post in its entirety, go to


Some leaders say too many who work hard at building children’s self-esteem are raising kids who will exhibit a lifestyle of entitlement and egotism. Other specialists say those who talk about children being innately bad are raising a generation that feels inferior and insignificant. Every expert has an opinion and it’s hard to know where the line actually is. Many promote their agenda by pushing the opposing opinion to the extreme.

One of the keys to parenting with balance is helping your children develop an attitude of humility. Every child has the potential to grow up and understand why it’s important to “put others first.” There is just a fine line between raising kids who have a healthy self-esteem and kids who are too egotistical. A life of arrogance that goes unchecked can result in a sad and lonely existence for someone, and frankly there are enough self-centered people around. How does someone develop an overinflated sense of self-worth and entitlement?

Here are a few ideas to help you effectively raise a jerk:

  • Protect them from the consequences of their own mistakes.
  • Make sure you do whatever they can do for themselves.
  • Keep them away from anyone who thinks differently than they do.
  • Try to give them everything they want.
  • Tell them over and over again you just want them to be happy.
  • Convince them that they are more special than other kids.
  • Always take their side when they get in trouble with their teacher at school.
  • Always take their side whenever they are in a conflict with a friend.
  • Keep insisting that they are the best player on the team.
  • Don’t give them consistent opportunities to help or serve other people.
  • Never require them to do chores.
  • Reinforce their prejudices about people from different cultures or backgrounds.
  • Make your relationship with them more important than your relationship with your spouse.
  • Rarely express genuine gratitude to those who help you.
  • Teach them to talk more than they listen.
  • Never let them hear you say, “I was wrong. I am sorry.”

Maybe you can add a few ideas of your own… on how to raise a jerk.


Whatever parenting philosophy we ascribe to, we all want to see our kids succeed. Whether it’s at school, sports, music or in the character traits they possess, we all want our kids to thrive. And the truth is, a huge part of their success is us. We set the tone for so much of their self-worth, self-understanding and self-image. So, let’s focus on being a part of the steps we want to see them take. Let’s get in the game with them and encourage their steps towards realizing the potential that God has placed inside of them.


3. Action Point

Obviously, no parent takes the advice on how to raise a jerk seriously. But what most of us do want to take seriously is the opportunity we have as parents to help our students become the best person—and eventually, the healthiest adult—they can be. We want to help them set goals and achieve them. And we want to praise them for their successes.


This month, think about helping your student make one step. Think of one new thing that you would love for your son or daughter to do. Maybe it’s to improve his or her science grade, learn how to do laundry, cook a meal or change the oil in the car. Once you have decided on one goal for your student, communicate your desire to teach this skill and let your student know why it is important to learn it. Then spend time during the month helping teach your student how to accomplish the goal.


If you want your student to improve his or her science grade, sit with him or her and study flash cards. If you want them to know how to do laundry, do a load or two together until he or she gets the hang of it. By communicating to your child why you want him or her to know or do a certain thing, you communicate respect. By spending time helping them learn, you are letting him or her know of their importance to you. You will also alleviate your child’s fear of disappointing you if they get it wrong.


The most important thing that fuels forward motion is celebration. Make sure that you celebrate your child’s step! Tell him or her that you are proud of them for working so hard or for learning something new. When your child knows that they can make you proud, they will be much more motivated to continue working on their new goal.


3 Youth Ministry Traps I Have Fallen Into and Escaped

I remember as a child something I always wanted to be able to do was juggle.  I had trouble just catching a ball that was tossed to me. There was no way I would have the hand eye coordination to juggle. This did not stop me from trying. The issue I always had was that as I was focusing on one ball I would drop another. I could maybe keep two balls going at once but never all three.

I have found that youth ministry is a lot like juggling. You need to keep up with kids, plan trips, plan for weekly meeting, meet parent, keep the church leaders informed and happy, write lessons, recruit volunteers, keep volunteers happy and much more.

Over my three and a half years being a head youth worker I have had many times where I said “If I just get this right everything else will fall into place.” Early on my biggest focus was teaching. I spent a ridiculous amount of hours preparing lessons that I thought were really good. I was taught in college that a good lesson had 4 hours of prep for every 5 minutes of teaching. At first I really assumed that if I just got the lessons right everything else would fall into place. I ended up with an unorganized mess. Today I can look back and say that I fell into the lesson trap.

I then realized that I needed to get things organized. I scaled down the amount of time on the lesson to a more reasonable amount and sometimes less then reasonable. I then spent all my time getting things organized. I made sure that there was a handout for everything, poster, flyer, schedules, and signup sheets. During this phase I spent a large amount of time brain storming what creative, fun thing we could do during a youth meeting that will be memorable and fun. My focus was on the program.

At some point my focus changed again. I decided that I really just needed to connect with the kids. I started meeting one on one or in small groups with them as much as I could handle. I went to anything they invited me to.  I would Facebook stalk, text message and e-mail teens and had a spread sheet to make sure it looked random but that I would not be missing anyone.  I was focused on relationships and set many other tasks to the side. We again became disorganized and lessons continued to suffer.

I fell into three different traps consistently. I remember going from one to the next. I knew I needed to find balance I just could not. I am still struggling with this today but have found ways to help keep the balance.

Get help: I hand most of the programming details off to student leaders. I ask them to come up with and run the majority of what happens during out meetings. This freed me from some of the programming tasks I was juggling. It also forces relationships. I know that I will be checking in with anyone who is running part of the event.

Learn to say no: I say no to invitations all the time. If I know I need to focus on something else I will miss a sports event, or drum line show, or concert. It’s not because I don’t care but because I know that I need to focus on what is best for the group.

Review with others: I ask people all the time “how do you think that went”. I don’t do anything formal I just a questions. If there is something that took up a lot of my time but they don’t remember then it was a waist of my time.

Learn to Kill Things:  A few months ago everyone walked in to a youth room set up like a funeral and a wooden casket in the front. We killed the Wednesday night program as they knew it. Our church has killed many other programs. Everything needs to have a purpose and if it does not fulfill the purpose there are two options, 1 Change the purpose to match what it does accomplish or 2. Kill it.

I am still learning how to juggle. I drop balls all the time but then reach down and pick them back up as soon as I notice. The ball I have not spent enough time on is Leadership training. I hope to research and plan to better equip both our student leaders and our adults to help oversee different aspects of the youth ministry.

We brainwash people at MCC

Today the Morgantown Community Church’s Facebook page received a question that i found interesting. I wanted to post the question and my answer to see what people thing.


Why do you brainwash people?


How’s it going? I’m the youth pastor at MCC. I work with the teenagers and technology mostly. I wanted to message you back and ask for examples of people who we brain washed. I didn’t know we had been successful… If we figured out how to brainwash people it would be amazing. Here are some reasons why:
1. We would no longer have people leave the church.
2. People would give more generously and we wouldn’t have to watch the budget closely.
3. We would not have to beg people to serve in different ministries the church has.
4. No one would ever challenge us on thing we say the bible teaches
The list could go on….

I hope you realized that I was joking about wanting to brain wash people. It would make some things easier but that’s not what we are about.

We openly say “Here is what we believe”(It’s on the internet public for all to see ). If people agree that is awesome if they disagree we are going to love them anyway but that is there right to believe what they want.

If people agree with our faith we encourage

them in partnering with us to live out what we believe. We encourage and equip them to live a life that honors God

I don’t think this is any different than any other major religion or activist group.

Anyone who cares about animals and donates or follows the SPCA will receive information from them about how to help save animals lives. They learn how to live out what they believe. The same is true of the Tea Party, Occupy camps, NRA, election campaign teams, and more. It’s always the same format “Here is what we believe and why, if you agree then do ______”
I think we could even say some atheists do this. Atheists often teach “religion is a crutch that will hold back humanity and civilization from evolving (Their believe) so we need to remove all religion from government and society to help further the human race (If you agree do this).”
So to answer your question I do not believe we brain wash people. We offer them a world view that gives them hope for the future, encouragement for now, council on how to get over the past, and advice in how to live the best life possible.

I want to end by letting you know that I enjoy philosophical conversational. If you would like to continue the conversation I am more than willing to have a dialog.
~DJ Grick