2 Things in this blog post:
1. Be a student of your student
One of the toughest aspects of the teenage years is the growing feeling our students have that the conflicts within their families are actually their own fault. And maybe as a parent, you hear that and agree that most of the developing conflict is the fault of your teenager. You may find yourself thinking if you could just fix them, things would be better. There is no doubt our teenagers have some attitude adjustments that need to be made and some issues that need to be dealt with. That comes with the parenting territory at any age. And while we are taking a look at how we can help them through their teen years, it’s also a good time to take a look at our own actions and reactions within our family to figure out how we can actually escalate or diffuse the tensions that arise.
As we experience anxiety in our own marital relationships, work relationships, friendships and even our own view of ourselves, it’s important to remember not to project these anxieties onto our children.
Because your teenager it not your best friend.
Your teenager is not a licensed counselor.
Your teenager is not responsible for the tension between you and your boss or you and your spouse or you and your other children.
As Rhett Smith (MDiv, LMFT-A), a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Associate, and part-time pastor to youth and families at Highland Park Presbyterian Church in Dallas, Texas explains in his article entitled “Managing Anxiety in the Family: Strategies for Changing our Relationship Dance” (fulleryouthinstitute.org), “If we really want to have healthy families, often we need to begin with the adults in the family taking responsibility for themselves. Rather than point the finger at our kids because they might be convenient scapegoats for our anxiety and conflict, real transformation lies within a family’s ability to do the hard work that relationships require.”
While this is solid advice, it can be really difficult to do! In the book Parenting Beyond Your Capacity, Reggie Joiner points out that one of the best tools to help you walk the journey with your teenager is to “Widen the Circle.” In other words, it’s important to invite other healthy adults into the life of your family; adults who are committed to your children and your family for no other reason than that they care. And this is also a great way to begin to develop processes for taking a look at how our family functions and how we can develop the most healthy family possible.
With this in mind, your student will be invited to participate in an XP, or experience, that encourages them to choose some wise people to help guide them through middle and senior high school. And, we have also encouraged them to include you in the process. Look forward to some more information from your student’s small group leader after week 2 of this series.
Our teenagers are dealing with so many pressures and competing voices. Our best bet is to set them up for success by being their champion and a safe place for them to unload their woes and worries. While this may not be an easy thing to do, it is important for us as parents to start with ourselves and look at how we play into the tension within our family relationships. We are the best place to start when addressing the health of our families.
This week, Centerpoint will begin a new series called Evolve. In this series, we’d like to encourage you, the parents, to be a student of what the students are learning. When we were growing up, our family was everything to us. They were the safe place to run to. They were the calm in the storm. They were the people whose opinions we trusted most and whose advice we took to heart. But over the years, especially the teen years, the voices of our mom and dad become more like nails on a chalkboard than the sweet sound of comfort. So what happened? Our relationship evolved. And while that isn’t necessarily the most comfortable thing in the world for a teenager to go through, it also isn’t the worst thing either. So what do we do as our students become less and less willing to listen to the wisdom their families give? How do we handle the everyday conflicts that come up between students and their families? These are important questions worth finding answers to. Because, let’s face it, the relationship is changing. But as difficult as this may be to handle right now, that change can be for the good of everyone.
CENTERPOINT has just announced two exciting events coming up this summer – a CAROWINDS trip and a NEW ORLEANS outreach trip. Read below for more information on the two!
All CENTERPOINT students are invited to CAROWINDS on June 23rd! The cost is $60 and you can sign up online at deeper14.com. Additionally you can get a sign up sheet at your campus. The cost includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner as well as transportation and the cost of your ticket!
CAROWINDS also has a water park so please bring bathing suit if you’d like to spend time there. Bring a book bag for carrying your extra clothes and other stuff!
We will be leaving the church at 7:30AM and returning at 10:00PM from Banks Mill campus.
High schoolers are invited to join us on our New Orleans Outreach Trip. The dates are July 26th – August 2. Cost is $350 ($175 due with application) and covers all food, transportation, lodging. There are no scholarships available.
There is 12 students spots, and then we will have a waiting list (if the waiting list reaches 12, we will take another busload!!!)
Click here to download the application:NOLA Trip Application
Greetings West Campus family! I hope your week is going well and you are looking forward to a great weekend of rest, recreation and worship! There are a lot of incredible things happening in and through Cedar Creek Church and Cedar Creek West. I wanted to share a couple of them with you and then share some personal news, as well.
Summer is ALWAYS a happening time around the CCW / Aiken Family Y campus. We are already seeing a large number of new members signing up and getting ready for the water park to be open full time. Let me encourage you to look at your budget and schedule and see if a Y membership is something that you would benefit from. I guarantee you that you won’t regret having the opportunity to enjoy all that the Y offers on a daily basis.
Also, with the arrival of summer comes school letting out and the Camp Aiken at the Y. Last year we saw over 100 kids attend camp at the Y daily throughout the 10 weeks of summer. One of the great opportunities that our partnership with the Y presents is the ability to participate in WOW (Worship On Wednesdays) with all the camp kidz. We will, once again, have that same opportunity this summer. Each Wednesday (excluding 4th of July week and August 13th) we will have WOW in the Kidz Worship Room beginning at 11am. The Camp Aiken Kidz will enjoy the same worship experience that our CCW Kidz experience on Sundays. What an opportunity to share Jesus with so many! If you would like to volunteer for WOW please contact email@example.com.
This coming Sunday, June 1, will be our “Graduate Recognition” service at both services at 9 and 11am. We have approximately nine graduates (8 high school and 1 college) signed up. During the greeting at each service we will recognize the graduates, present them with a small gift and ask them to share what their NEXT step plans are for the future. Please make it a priority to be there Sunday to help us celebrate these incredible students!
Finally, you may have heard that I will be taking a sabbatical during the months of June and July. We began sharing this information a few weeks back with leadership and volunteers. If you missed it or maybe are unsure about what this means, I wanted to give you the rundown. In the spring of 2012, Pastor Phillip Lee was experiencing “burnout” and exhaustion in his role. (click here for more info) He asked for and was given an eight week sabbatical (time off) to rest and recover. Upon his return to work, Pastor Phillip advised the Deacons that he thought it necessary and helpful to allow pastors on staff an eight week sabbatical every five years. This year, is my year.
January of this year I celebrated my fifth year in ministry and our fifth birthday as a campus. The past five years have been an amazing journey where we have seen some incredible things happening in and through our campus. We have been witness to many things that, when we remember them, make us say, “Only God could have done that!” I know that our best days are still ahead of us. I realize that what God has called us to at the West Campus is a marathon, not a sprint. Keeping that in mind, I am planning to have some time away with my family, some time with friends who God uses to fill me and some time alone with God.
I will return the weekend of August 2 to marry two good friends of mine and be back with you all that Sunday, August 3 for worship and “church wide” baptism that will happen on our campus!
Many have asked, “How can we help while you are away?” Here are a few things that will be of great help to me and to the West Campus:
Pray. Pray for me and my family. Pray for rest and renewal for me, for Keli and for Will and Hannah. We will experience some HUGE life transitions for our family this summer. Keli and I will celebrate our 20th anniversary June 25. Will graduates high school and will head off to Newberry in August and Hannah will turn 16 July 22. Pray that we can have some focused time together while I’m away. Pray for Keli as she will not have the same luxury to be away the entire eight weeks with me. She will take some vacation time but will only be out one Sunday. Pray for Will as he prepares to leave home and begin his studies and football at Newberry. Pray for Hannah as she continues to grow in her leadership with FCA, Centerpoint worship and on her volleyball team at South Aiken.
Serve. For those of you who already serve somewhere on Sunday mornings, I can’t thank you enough. You are making an eternal difference as you invest in the lives of others by creating environments where people feel welcomed to come and hear the truth about Jesus. Please keep doing what you’re doing and do a little more. Look for holes that need to be filled and ask “How can I help?” Every Sunday we have holes and opportunities for folks to serve and summer is always a time when the holes become more numerous due to vacations and such.
If you’re not currently serving anywhere, please get plugged in to a team and start doing something. You really need it. More than we need you, you need you to serve. We know that we are never more like Jesus than when we are serving others and we CANNOT grow to be more like Him without serving others. Try serving somewhere. If it’s not a fit, try something else. Keep trying until you find that sweet spot where your gifts and talents come together with an opportunity.
Invite. Jesus said, “I will grow my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.” He is growing His church and He is using US to do it. As you go through your day, ask God to show you the folks around you that do not have a church home and do not have a relationship with Jesus. Then, invite them to Cedar Creek West. It’s as simple as inviting people and being nice to them when they get here. I thank God that my neighbor, Debbie Flippen Hubbard, invited Keli and I to Cedar Creek Church over 17 years ago. I shudder to think what our lives would look like today had she not asked us to join her one Sunday. A simple invitation that has a powerful, eternal significance.
One last thing. In my absence, my staff and team will be doing what they do. They are all rock stars when it comes to the things they do. I have no doubt that things will continue to run smooth as they always do because they are a great team. However, there has to be somebody that fills in at meetings and such for me. That somebody is Kevin Vincent, our Adult Ministry Director. Kevin will be the “face for the place” on Sundays as he welcomes folks at the greeting and wraps up at the end. Kevin will attend weekly meetings with church wide staff and campus pastors, deacon meetings and Y Board of Directors meetings for me. I can’t thank him enough for his willingness to stand in the gap for me.
And, I can’t thank you all enough for how you give of your time, talents and treasure. How you pray, serve and live out the mission that Jesus has given us to help people find their way back to God. REACH, CONNECT, GROW, SERVE, HONOR!