Psalm 77

A Brief Reflection upon Psalm 77... 
Before reading this post I would encourage you to take some time processing this text yourself. 

Psalm 77 is a personal lament where the author is expressing a deep sense of pain. The author is struggling with comprehending what is going on within one's life.  As one who too is going through a time of struggle and pain I resonate with this text.  The Psalmist says that they are so troubled they can not speak. In the last couple of weeks, I have gotten to the point where at times I had no words to respond to what was going on and all I could do is moan as the psalmist says.

A couple of weeks ago, I was sitting with a youth who had knee surgery.   She is lamenting about her knee. Her surgery is major and because of the injury may not play volleyball again.  It seems so unfair and unjust what she is going through. She is young, smart, a great student, and a faithful follower of Christ.  At this point she just grunts and moans through her pain because to her there is no other way to express her pain and sense of loss. My conversation with this Youth began with a lament and then closed with words of praise towards God.  God has blessed her despite the unfortunate circumstances.   

When the Psalmist laments its not as though he has forgotten God because in verse 13 he affirms who God is and what God has done. Our finite brains can not begin to understand the infinite God.  Upon first look at my life right now I am in a deep lament.  I do not understand it, but upon deeper reflection it has turned into affirmation of who God has been, who he is, and who I know he will be. My pain is real, my faith in God is real, and oddly both exist within the same universe.

Though we don't always find resolution in these stories and still don't get all the answers we want it seems that what we can know is that God is still there and hear, feels, and sees what we are going through.

Leadership Tools 3- Leader Calendars

I have such a deep respect for my leaders who pour an immense amount of time, energy, and resources into the youth.  The youth ministry programs I have been a part of are successful in large part to my leaders.  The more I serve with volunteers, the more I realize how precious time is.  Each leader has their own life, their own family, their own jobs and hobbies.  As their leader I need to value their time.  I need to honor their schedules because they are honoring the ministry by serving.  One of the ways I honor my leaders is by planning out waaaaay in advance.  I try to plan a one year schedule that includes events, curriculum, meetings, and anything I am asking them to participate in.

Guess what?!? I get more leaders to come to my meetings because its on their calendar before school or sports activities.  Wanna know something else... I have an easier time finding volunteers for events because they know what they are signing up for at the beginning of the year as oppose to the month or week before.  My leaders also love having a sense of how youth group flows especially if they are new.

You might think my calendar is full.. and it kinda is but its kinda not.  My calendar is intentionally a mixture of events.  We do one big event a quarter (Fall & Winter Retreat, Mission Trip, Camp).  These are the events that takes a lot of planning with my leaders, parents, and student leaders.  We do two events lead by my student leadership a year (Winter and Spring Overnighter).  Gives my students an opportunity to plan something, gives my students a voice in the ministry and ownership, plus these events usually become our biggest outreach to friends.  They are low cost and a whole lot of fun.  Most of the time we have something big in the middle of the night like broom ball, midnight bowling, or scavenger hunt.  We do three events a year lead by my small group leaders called... small group night out.  This happens in the place of youth group and my leaders go Ice Skating, Sky High, play video games, go get coffee, watch movies or anything else their group wants to do.  It's low planning but high impact.

You will see we also do a once a month low planning high impact service opportunity usually lead by a parent.  The final thing to note is we follow a rhythm of Invitation in the first couple months of the year followed by a challenge the last couple months of the year.  You will notice our curriculum is divided into two different sections that mirror this invitation and challenge model.  Invitation is about targeting new people primarily and challenge is about getting our students to go deeper.  We have a yearly, seasonal, and monthly theme that all coincide with one another.  You'll see more of this later.

WORD- Leader Calendar

PDF- Leader Calendar