Monday, September 22, 2014


Today has been rather productive. I guess that can happen when you wake up at a decent hour on your day off. By the way, have I ever mentioned that I love Mondays? You see, on Mondays, our church staff takes the day off. So Mondays are pretty great around the Ridgeway household! Especially after the last few days. We stayed pretty busy in the youth department this week. Yesterday we had the first annual Lip Sync Battle with our middle school students - which was a total blast. Seriously, I laughed so hard that I cried - several times! We had some work cut out for us prepping everything for that event, but it was so worth every minute! Hopefully Adam can get a recap video done soon so we can show everyone some highlights. These kids did so good, and I'm pretty sure they had just as much fun as we did. Have I mentioned that I love those kiddos? They are just the best.

Core68's Lip Sync Battle

Anyway, back to my productivity. We woke up pretty early this morning (for us...really 6:30 isn't that early) and headed over to the Christian school. We have some friends that teach there, and they invited me to speak in their chapel services today and I had a great time. I especially loved watching the little ones. These little first graders came into the chapel as Rend Collective's Let Your Kingdom Come was playing. They immediately started bouncing around and singing as loud as they could. Some raised their hands and just praised Jesus the best they knew how. It was absolutely adorable. Isn't that amazing, how such young kids can get so excited about Jesus!? Why don't I praise Him like that? It was beautiful and humbling. So, thanks kids, you thought I was there to teach you, but really you had some lessons to teach me too!

After two chapel services we headed back home and did some resting. We chilled on the couch and finished off the last season of The Office. Yes, I am counting that as something productive. How often do you finish a whole TV series? What I'm not going to tell you is how quickly (or slowly - don't judge) we achieved that great feat. I did some recipe planning - now I just have to do the shopping portion of that chore, but that might wait till tomorrow. I also scheduled some consultation appointments for lasik eye surgery. Okay, again, don't judge, I am indecisive and will pick where I'll be going by the end of the week. And I finally put some loads of laundry into the washer. Quick honesty talk, I am THE WORST at doing laundry. It's not that I hate it, I just forget about it. Adam just gives me those not so gentle reminders of "hey, I'm out of underwear..." or t-shirts...or pants. My poor husband puts up with so much from me.

So now, here I am. Rambling to the world about my productive day. Well, probably not to the world considering that only about 3 people will read this - my mom (I love you!), my dear friend Heather because she promised to, and that one random person who accidentally entered the wrong web address (hey there fella, hope you enjoyed it!).

My future plans for the rest of my Monday include

  • finishing up a this great book
  • finishing all the loads of laundry (I think I have two more)
  • making dinner
  • and making signs for the upcoming Pure 5K.  

Oh and here is a shameless plug. If you are in or around Watertown, SD, Family Worship Center is hosting the Pure 5K on October 5th. It is to raise support and awareness to stop human trafficking here in the state of South Dakota. So if you live nearby, register at and join us as we run/walk to pierce the evil of human trafficking.

Friday, September 5, 2014

On continuing education

We've had one full summer of youth pastoring. I can't believe it's been that long already and yet I can. It still feels like we just got here, and yet we've experienced so many things and met so many people and really settled in. It's a strange feeling, but I absolutely love it!
I have learned so much in the past few months. Man, you really find out quick that college can't teach you everything; that experience truly is the best teacher. You think you're set and then you are quickly proved wrong. But I have some very gracious teachers. They are between the ages of 11 and 18 and full of vibrant energy and personality. And they have grown very near and dear to my heart, every single one of them with their quirks and craziness. And I know that they aren't done teaching me. I have so much more to learn! But here are a few things I have learned so far from these kids:

  • Don't take yourself too seriously, because they surely won't. 
  • Prepare to laugh uncontrollably and often.
  • Have Plan A set, but make sure you know your Plan B, C, and D. This is especially true when working with middle schoolers. They are so unpredictable, you never know what is going to happen - but they are so much fun!
  • Stories are your best friend. Preaching and teaching youth requires a lot of attention getting, so make sure anything you prepare is chocked full of stories - narrative passages, personal experiences, funny/crazy illustrations, etc. 
  • Set ending times for events. This will help you stay on track and focused and will also tell parents when they need to get their children. Who knew they needed to know that? 
  • On that note, you have to communicate well with parents. Make sure you very clearly articulate what is going on, when, where, why, and how. Tell them what their kids need to wear, what they need to bring, and if there will be food. Try to answer every question you could possibly think they might ask. And then repeat that information several weeks in advance, several times through several different avenues - service announcement, email, text, flyer, postcard, etc. Adam and I are still working on this, but I like to think we are getting better at it. This seems like a no brainer, but it is actually a lot harder than it sounds. 
  • Somehow you will never have the right amount of food. Either you don't bring enough and it is all gone in a matter of seconds or you prepare way to much and end up eating six cobs of corn all by yourself. Hopefully this is one of those things I'll learn in the future, because seriously, it's a struggle. 
  • If you are having an event in the morning, make sure everything is prepared and set up the night before because something will probably go wrong in the morning causing you to forget things that you need. 
  • When things do go wrong, because they will, don't panic. Work through it, apologize if needed, and remember for next time. And hey, this is why I suggest having Plans B, C, and D ready. 
  • When you are plagued with any of the negativity, set backs, and failures you will face in youth ministry, always remember why you do what you do. There is nothing like watching kids experience God, grow in their relationship with Him, and impact their worlds. 
  • Praying in the Spirit is a must. I don't know about all of the things that these kids are facing or will face in the future. But I'll continue to pray as hard as I can for them, and continue to ask God to show me how to pray for them. 
  • Prepare to be amazed - the ways these kids worship, pray, and experience God will blow your mind.
  • Set high spiritual expectations. They've already amazed you, so set higher expectations and watch them sail right past those and on to even greater things. 
  • God moves in His time. All you can do is prepare these kids for when He does. And teach them to expect it! 
And you know, these are just a few things off the top of my head. I'm sure that the longer I sit and think, the longer this list will become. And I am sure that the list will grow, I really hope it does. I want to learn as much as I can! And who better to learn from then these kids that I love so much?