Skip to main content

Guaranteed Investments

4:45 a.m. That’s what time I awoke this morning. It hurts to think about it. Christy and James had to be in Plano by 6:15 or so to join another nearly 100 middle schoolers and parents going on choir tour. Custer Road UMC is well known for its choir tours. They’ll spend five days on charter buses to parts of Louisiana, Arkansas, and East Texas. Today, they performed at a Baptist Youth mission in Waxahachie, and Baylor University. The tour ends Sunday night with a home show at Custer Road. Of course you are welcome to attend!

As many of you know, I spent last week at Camp Bridgeport with my boys and another 200+ kiddos. Well, many of the “adult” counselors-- probably six or more-- were seniors or college aged students from Custer Road. One of the first exposures Christy and I had to Custer Road students was on Youth Sunday, the first Sunday of August 2013, just before the graduated seniors took off for college. Several of those seniors lead worship on that Sunday every year. They were so impressive. I leaned over to Christy and said, “I want our boys to be like those kids.” They are all on their way. Bias aside, we’ve been blessed with three wonderful boys. Many churches have helped us in their formation!

I mention all of this not to inspire jealousy about numbers or finances-- it’s true, Custer Road is a large church with enormous resources. What’s remarkable about the place is its commitment to young people. Which leads to other blessings. For years, Custer Road has been a pipeline of clergy for the North Texas Conference. Rev Melissa Hatch, campus pastor of The Mission at Prosper United Methodist Church and Rev Dana Compton, newly installed as the lead pastor at Bonham UMC, both came out of Custer Road. Rev Jenna Morrison, whose father Tim has been the music director at Custer Road for 20+ years, was ordained this summer at conference. The list goes on and on.

My career in ministry began 23 years ago with youth. I was 22 and volunteered the summer after graduating from college with the youth group of my home church. For the two years following that summer, I served as a youth pastor in Missouri City, TX. One of those youth, Rev Ben Rigsby, is the newly appointed pastor at FUMC Archer City on our district. Which means, yes, that I am old.

Good things happen when investments are made in young people. I see the potential for such investment at Grace. The joy of hosting the children at VBS a couple of weeks ago was obvious. Seeing so many of our own youth serving others there-- and on the recent Guatemala trip-- was wonderful. Grace sent readers to Waples UMC in Denison this week for Project Transformation students. I heard so many readers showed up some had to be sent home. Thank you for being the kind of place where children and youth, not just our own but others in the community, are safe and valued. When was the last time you invested in a student? One of the simplest ways to do that is to follow them on Twitter or Instagram. Favorite a few of their comments every now and then. They’ll know you see them and are interested in their lives. When the schoolyear starts in a few weeks, show up at a band performance or volleyball game. When a child or youth participates in worship, make the extra effort to show appreciation. It adds up. May you give, and receive, many blessings from the children and youth God places in your path!


Popular posts from this blog

Reflecting Upon Newtown

Note: I offered these words during the prayer section of worship Sunday, December 16.

Last Friday was a day full of surprising ministry. After I wrote my usual Friday email devotion to the church, I received a call from Byron Proutt, our missions coordinator. He and others had recently partnered with Park Cities Presbyterian on a project, and their missions director called Byron to say another ministry was unable to pick up several boxes of food for their pantry—could we use it? Of course we could! So Pastor Gregg, Mr Johnny, and I rolled out to the warehouse and hauled back 80 boxes of food. Praise God! After we unloaded it Gregg and I went to Kroger to give them a letter of appreciation for making our Thanksgiving baskets for hungry families a priority. After I dropped Gregg off at home, I turned on my radio for the first time that day and heard the reports of the shootings in Newtown, Conn. I could not believe what I heard, especially as a father of young children.

I came back to m…

The Famous Black Cat Band

This week my former high school band director, Mr Reinke, died. Mr Reinke is a legend in my hometown of Bay City. He was the leader of our Black Cat Band for many years. He was a fiery man, a perfectionist with extremely high standards. He was a gifted musician. He and I both played the trombone; one of us sounded like a goose being strangled. The other sounded like... well I can't think of a metaphor to properly describe Mr Reinke's horn. It was amazing. He would pull that thing out occasionally to show us how to properly play a part of a song and the sound was spellbinding. 
Mr Reinke was very innovative in his music selections. He had us playing the most random music, from popular stuff of the day by Michael Jackson to Also Sprach Zarathustra (popularly known as the theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey) to Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody. This song in particular was a great choice-- it's amazing, complicated; however, this was the late 1980s. The song was originally released…

a response to gideons international

last sunday prosper united methodist church welcomed representatives of the gideons to share about their ministry. how many times have you stayed in a hotel or visited someone in the hospital and found a gideons Bible there? and while no one can argue that reading the Bible is a bad thing, or that distributing Bibles to others in native languages is inherently harmful, i would like to offer some thoughts on the practices of the gideons, as they were described at church.

1. bravo to the gideons for distributing 73 million Bibles last year. however, most of the Bibles they sent were tiny new testaments with psalms. i am a Christian, and i love the words of the new testament. but those words have their foundation in the old testament, and to remove thousands of years of traditions and stories of God's powerful love and acts of salvation diminishes the power of the whole Bible. we must never forget that the old testament (or "first" testament or "hebrew Bible"…