BackYard Mission 2018

Pure: By God For God

All high school students are welcome to be a part of this ministry in which the primary focus is keeping teens connected to Christ.  We do this through learning and sharing God’s word together and living out our faith through the bonds of friendship, prayer, group activities, and serving others.  The focus on Christ permeates everything we do.  He died for us so that we can live in and for him, and we recognize the need to show teens that faith in Christ is a free gift, is relevant, and is desperately needed by everyone.
Join us Thursdays at 7pm in the music room for fun, friends and devotion time. 

March Parent Resource

Helping Your Teen Become an Adult.
Focus on the Family has an excellent podcast that I recently listened to by Dr. Kenneth Wilgus, author of the book Feeding the Mouth that Bites You: A Complete Guide to Parenting Adolescents and Launching Them into the World. The podcast talks about ways to help navigate the transitional time from childhood to adulthood.  We are not preparing our children very well if we are not guiding them toward independence throughout their teenage years.  Check it out:

January Parent Resource

Happy New Year! I wish you all of God’s best during 2019.  For many of you this will be a transitional year with a child going into college, beginning to drive, having a first boyfriend or girlfriend, or getting his or her first part time job.  It is hard to believe sometimes – how fast our kids grow up, but with solid and open lines of communication between parent and teen, we can keep up with each other’s busy lives, listen to the thoughts and feelings of our teens, and maintain a strong relationship.  In fact, I am reminded of the verse in Proverbs that says, “A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinions.” ~ Provers 18:2. I don’t know about you, but I am often guilty of sharing my opinion on what I think my child should do in this or that situation without first listening to and understanding his thoughts on the matter.  Teens are obviously still being shaped by us as parents, however, they have their own thoughts and need to be heard without judgemental interuptions from us.  It gives them confidence to make decisions and gain independence when they feel comfortable sharing their thoughts with us, and having us as parents listen intently while they speak. Tell me more.  This month’s parent resource is an article which talks about the positive impact that those three words – tell me more – has within conversations and relationships.  The author of the article, Brad Griffin, even calls those words a “game changer” in terms of generating better conversations.   Check it out in the link below.

November Parent Resource

A friend of mine recently told me about a call he received from his son’s high school principal.  The principal had recently noticed his son hanging around with some kids who – let’s just say – didn’t share the same values of my friend’s family.  He talked with his son about it, and his son became aware of the fact that the adults in his life were looking out for him.  His son didn’t like it at the time, but they had a necessary conversation, and resolved some issues. Three good things happened during that whole event.  1. They found out that the high school principal was keenly aware of what was going on at his school.  2.  Clear and timely communication took place among all parties.  3. My friend became aware of the fact that he didn’t know his son’s friends as well as he thought. The following article from CBN (Christian Broadcasting Network) is a simple reminder for us all that we need to get to know our teen’s friends.  It also shares some things to do and not to do when getting to know our teen’s friends.  Check out the link below.

October Parent Resource
The October parent resource is actually an article written by John Piper, a wonderful pastor, author, and speaker.  I read this a few months ago, and it is meant to be read by teens.  I think parents will enjoy this message as well.  The following is his opening paragragh.  To read the full article, click on the link below:

“I am writing for the liberation of teenagers. I write to challenge teenagers to ‘live as people who are free’ (1 Peter 2:16). Be wise and strong and free from the slavery of culture-conformity. To put it another way, I am calling teenagers to a radical, wartime lifestyle.” Continue….

September Parent Resource
Do you ever have discussions and disagreements with your teen about a curfew?  Check out this month’s parent resource – an article from The Learning Community.  It gives some good guidelines for establishing curfew rules for your household.  Click on the link below.

August Parent Resources
School starts this week for many of your high school kids, and I have included a couple resources for you to take a look at to help your high school student get off to a good start as well as maintain a great 2018-19 school year. The first one is a short article from the Child Mind Institute, called Tips for Getting off to a Good Start in High School, and it includes several tips to help teens organize their time and keep a balanced schedule.
The second article, Being a Diligent Parent, came from Focus on the Family. In it, parents are given a few solid reminders to practice patience, consistency, discipline, and encouragement while navigating the – at times – difficult waters of parenting a teen. Check them out below.
Tips For Getting Off to a Good Start in High School
Strong, realistic study habits make all the difference
Ruth Lee, MEd, ET/P Like the fireman whose clothes and boots are laid out so he can jump on the truck at a moment’s notice, getting yourself organized and ready for a new school year can really help you get off to a good start. In high school, you can expect more homework and less oversight from parents and teachers. it’s up to you to structure your own time and study routines, and how you do that makes all the difference in how successful you’ll be. Study habits that are effective for you—realistic about your strengths and weaknesses—will leave mind space available for the reason you go to school: to learn. Here are some tips:
  • Be realistic about time. If you’re starting at a new school, do a run-through of your schedule so you will know the best route to classes and how much time you will need to get there.
  • Buy an academic planner/calendar with large daily blocks in which to write your assignments and class schedule. Get in the habit of writing assignments in them while you are still in class, as teachers are writing or handing them out, to cut the risk that you’ll forget.
  • In your planner, mark out blocks of time for each assignment. Get in the habit of timing your assignments so you can realistically estimate how long it takes to, say, do math problems or write an essay or read 50 pages. In this way, you will soon be able to accurately mark out those blocks.
  • Plan manageable chunks of time to work, not one long slog.This will lower your resistance to settling down to work and you’ll get positive reinforcement each time you finish a chunk.
  • Use color-coding for each subject. This will allow you to see at a glance which classes require the most attention on a given day, week, or month. The colors work as an “eye opener” to focus your attention on what needs to be done.
  • Schedule personal time as well as work time in your planner.It’s important to put aside time for things you want to do, so that you know that school work isn’t taking all the fun out of your life. If your activities have their “own space,” you won’t have to take time away from fun to do your work. There’s time for both!
  • Schedule weekends as well as weekdays. If you set aside blocks of time for work during the weekend you’ll see clearly that there’s plenty of time left for other things you want to do.
  • Use a timer. If you’re planning to read for a half hour, you won’t waste a lot of time and energy looking at the clock all the time, and you can focus more on what you’re reading.
  • Be realistic about when you’re going to get up. Don’t schedule a big block of study time for 8-11 Saturday morning if you’re basically never awake at that time. If you do manage to get up, you’ll resent not getting enough sleep; if you don’t, you’ll feel badly about oversleeping.
  • Be strategic about work and play. If you’re going to dinner and a movie with friends on Saturday night, reserve 1-4pm for studying. You’ll have an incentive to concentrate while you’re working, and afterwards will be able to go out without worrying about work.
  • Schedule breaks. Give yourself a break every half hour when you’re working, but don’t do something you could get pulled into, like checking email or talking on the phone. Do something physical—shoot some hoops or make the bed or get a snack—but something over which you have control.
  • Set up your environment to work for you. Prepare a space in which to work with a full set of supplies; this will be a real time and energy saver and will help prevent procrastination.
  • Consider your sound track. Some people need white noise to concentrate effectively, others music, others complete silence. Know what works and let it work for you!
  • Get a big wall calendar to post in your room.This is for long-term assignments, because seeing things on paper, in color, can help you become a strategic planner and get your tasks done in a timely manner.
Being a Diligent Parent
By Joe White and Lissa Halls Johnson My years with four teenagers in the house were definitely the toughest of my life. My heart broke into a million pieces as I shared my kids’ many pains during those wild and turbulent times. It set me to praying — every day. I asked God to make those six teenage years golden years. I prayed that my kids would have godly hearts. I prayed for their sexual purity, for their ability to stand alone against peer pressure, for their self-images, for their desire to honor and obey us, for wisdom, for their friends and teammates and teachers and coaches and future mates. I prayed that the example of my life would be more consistently godly. I made many mistakes with my kids, but I didn’t quit. I tried to be diligent in doing what I thought was right, adjusting my tac­tics with each situation and each kid, and adjusting again when my methods didn’t work. In the process, I discovered some tips you might find useful. They’re the kind of thing you might be tempted to forget in the heat of the parenting moment — the kind of thing that takes daily diligence.
1. Allow choices whenever possible
When we’re rushed, or when our teens have disappointed us, it’s easy to step in and make the decisions ourselves. But kids learn to make good choices … by making choices. If good choices lead to pleasant results and poor choices produce painful consequences (which they often will if you don’t “rescue” your teen), you’ll probably find your son or daughter making more of the former than the latter.
2. Remember the power of saying, “No”
It’s part of a parent’s job, so don’t be timid! “Everybody” may be doing it, going to it, watching it, listening to it, drinking it and using it, but “In this home, we’re not!” Don’t just issue declarations, though; keep working on the relationship and explain the reasons behind the boundaries.
3. Follow through with appropriate consequences
If your teen comes home before curfew, praise her. If she ignores the limits you’ve set, withdraw an allowance or privilege (driving, phone use, going out at night, etc.). In the interest of fairness, let your teen know ahead of time what the limits and penalties are. For example, coming home 15 minutes late means coming home 15 minutes early next time. Write it down so no one forgets! George Callahan is one dad who discovered the value of appropriate consequences. He and his daughter Miriam spent way too much time bashing heads — especially over getting the girl to school on time. Finally George decided to lay out what he was going to do: “The car is leaving for work at 7:30 a.m. If you’re ready, I’ll take you to school.” If Miriam wasn’t ready for school then, she had to find another way to get there. George says, “It changed everything to just get out of the power struggle and say, ‘We don’t have to struggle. I simply pre­sent the consequences. Those aren’t negotiable.'”
4. Re-evaluate your habits occasionally
Every so often, honestly assess where you are and how you’re doing as a parent. Give your­self credit in the areas where you’re doing well, and thank God for His help. In other areas, create a simple, step-by-step plan for improvement. Be firm with yourself, but not harsh.
5. Be consistent
Some parents find this the toughest task of all. But teens like to know where they stand and what’s expected of them. When rules change and they get in trouble, they withdraw or lash out. Some families find it helps to draw up agreements, even in the small things, so there’s no con­fusion about what’s expected. One teen boy said, “I’ve never had a set curfew. One night it will be 12 and the next night, even if I haven’t done anything wrong, they’ll be like, ‘Oh, come home at 11 tonight.’ It was very confusing.”
6. Be patient
Give yourself — and your teen — a break. You’re going through a time of upheaval and delicate wire-walking. Allow yourself some slack when it comes to measuring progress. One wise parent puts it this way: “We had to take on a differ­ent perspective and realize that all things weren’t going to be fixed or worked out. There would still be conflicts. That relationship didn’t have to suddenly be right for us to be happy or content.”
7. Keep up with your teen’s world
Even in the midst of chaos — or because of it — you need to know about the culture that’s pressuring and misinforming your son or daughter. Bookmark
8. Enjoy your teen
Being a parent to a teen is not all hard work. There can be a lot of fun, too. Teens are daring, willing to play and explore life; they’re often enthused, outra­geous, crazy, insightful. They can be great companions when you’re running a quick errand. Think of your teen as a new friend you’d really like to get to know. Try not to lose sight of that, even when you don’t think you could love this kid one more second.
9. Meet apparent rejection with acceptance
  “No matter how sullen they were, we hugged them,” one parent said of her teens. “[We] said we loved them. It didn’t mat­ter if they responded. We did it anyway. Now there isn’t a conver­sation that doesn’t end with, ‘Love you, Mom!’ ‘Love you, Dad!’ They open their arms and hug freely.”
10. Make encouragement a habit
One teen says his mother posts a new Bible verse every day on his mirror. This young man is honest enough to say he doesn’t always read them. But he loves that his mom is consistent and caring enough to do it, even though she knows he doesn’t always read them. Her diligence shouts love to him. Taken from Sticking With Your Teen, published by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. Copyright © 2006 by Joe White. All rights reserved.

July Parent Resource
My wife and I struggle from time to time with trying to balance how much we give our kids vs determining when to “cut off” payment for certain items such as cars, car repairs, car insurance, cell phones, and other expensive items. I know families who believe it is the teen’s responsibility to work for and purchase every luxury item on their own. I also know families who want their kids to be safe and have reliable communication and transportation, therefore, the parents spend most of the money when it comes to their teen’s transportation and phones. Of course there are many expenses that parents and teens negotiate about – not just cars and phones. The following short article from is a good reminder to be cautious with the amount of things we give to our teens. Teens and Entitlement Does your teen expect more from you than they have earned or deserve? Many parents only want the best for their children (usually more than they had growing up), but has this actually backfired on families? In today’s society, many teens have major entitlement issues. Parents feel that giving their teens material items will somehow earn them respect. Quite frankly, the opposite occurs in most families. The more we give, the more our children expect and the less they respect us. We lose ourselves in buying our children’s love. At the end of the day, no one wins and life is a constant battle of anger, hopelessness, and debt. While interviewing a young teen who was recently given a brand new car, the young woman felt she deserved it since her parents gave her two used ones previously. She was only 17 years old and already controlling her household. She truly believed that she was entitled to this car, showing no appreciation of respect for her parents. Simply, she deserved it. Can you imagine owning three cars by the age of 17, yet never buying one? This is an extreme example, but a lot of parents can probably relate. Entitlement issues can lead to serious problems. Teaching your child respect and responsibility should be priority. Although the issues may have started to escalate, as a parent, it is never too late to take control of the situation and say no when your teen feels they are entitled to a frivolous item or anything that is considered a privilege. Life is about responsibility, and as parents we need to teach this to our children. Helping them comes natural to us; however, when it becomes excessive and the child doesn’t appreciate it, it is time to step back and evaluate your situation.

June Parent Resource
The following article by Dr. Eric Scalise from James Dobson’s Family Talk is an outstanding reminder for all of us on the importance of being an encouraging parent and spouse. He uses the example of Barnabas in the New Testament and details 6 ways that we can be encouraging toward our family; among them are simply being available, patient, and practical.
I believe that when we encourage our teens and build them up, they are more open when talking to us. They also develop more self esteem and confidence. I urge you to take a few minutes and read this article. 6 Qualities of an Encouraging Parent
Freshman Mentoring Ministry OSL teen ministry is planning a mentoring opportunity for all of the 2018-19 freshmen students. Freshmen need strong adults in their lives who they can look up to, talk with, and learn from. In addition to the encouragement from parents, it is good to have role models who can help these teens remain strong in the faith – remembering their confirmation vows throughout high school and beyond. I am excited to offer this opportunity as well as additional details later this summer! If you have questions or would like to be a part of this mentoring planning process, please let me know.

May Parent Resource This month, I want to provide you with a little different resource for you to use with your teens. The Summer Missional Living Family Challenge is for all OSL members. The idea behind this challenge is to have families organize and host a gathering or service project for your neighborhood this summer. We are called to join Jesus in His mission to redeem and resore people to a right relationship with God. Part of that involves getting to know people right in your own neighborhood. In the church lobby are several Missional Living Family Challenge brochures containing a variety of social gathering and service project ideas. It also includes tips for success in planning an event.
Grab a brochure the next time you are at church and take a look at the ideas. Then take some time with your kids and plan a neighborhood event together. It teaches your teen hospitality, organization, planning, social skills, and listening skills. It also keeps them aware of the need to be friendly (neighborly) with those God has placed around them. Getting to know people – listening to their stories, being aware of their needs – allows friendships to develop and flourish.
This fall we will offer an opportunity to gather together on a Sunday morning during the 9:30am Bible class hour and listen to the results of people who tried it this summer. Perhaps your family can share the way God used you to bless your neighborhood this summer.

April Parent Resource
Checkout this excellent website: (Center for Parent/Youth Understanding) A summary from this website reads as follows: “The Center for Parent/Youth Understanding is a nonprofit organization committed to building strong families by serving to bridge the cultural-generational gap between parents and teenagers.
At a time when an already confusing youth culture is changing quickly, CPYU helps parents, youth workers, educators, and others understand teenagers and their culture so that they will be better equipped to help children and teens navigate the challenging world of adolescence. Founded in 1989 by Walt Mueller, CPYU has developed an international reputation as a voice providing cutting-edge information, resources and analysis on today’s youth culture. The mission of CPYU is to work with churches, schools, and community organizations to build stronger relationships between young people and those charged with helping them grow into healthy adulthood. This mission is accomplished by:
  • Helping parents understand and respond to the complex world of their children and teens from a distinctively Christian point of view.
  • Equipping teenagers to deal with the challenges of adolescence.
  • Raising the youth culture awareness of youth workers, parents and educators, thereby helping them increase their effectiveness with parents, children and teens.”
This is a terrific place to connect with today’s youth by finding out what is popular right now with teens. There are podcasts and articles on nearly 300 topics that have relevance for today’s teens. You can find topics ranging from acceptance and anxiety to smart phones, peer pressure, identity, sexuality, and virtually any other topic that can affect our kids today. There are also trend alerts to keep you aware of the latest potentially harmful fads taking place in youth culture.
I highly recommend perusing through this site. It is extremely informative, and most of the information is completely free.
Contact Information
To RSVP or volunteer for any OSL High School Teen Ministry event, please contact Dave Wright, Minister of Family Life.  Feel free to also ask questions or offer suggestions at any time.