Big Changes!

I am very excited about everything going on in Journey Kidz right now.  FUSION offered a giant glimpse of what we do each week in our Journey Kidz environments, and now we are stepping it up even more in November.
Today the Kidz GIG STUDIO began a facelift which opens the room even more – and actually adds another breakout room for our small group leaders and kids to apply what they are learning.  It also adds some additional space to the front stage area which opens up more possibility of some cool interaction and other new tricks!
Our MiNi CiTy and BLOCK preschool environments are still in the process of getting their own redress not only in the look and feel of the room but also in the way we teach God's kids about how much He loves them.  To see a child begin to develop in the awareness of a loving God and loving people, even as young as 1 and 2 years of age, is an amazing thing to witness and of which to be a part.
Let me just say this:  if you have been attending Journey for any length of time, and have never stepped foot in our Journey Kidz environments, I highly recommend that you do!  You haven't experienced all of Journey until you check out some of the awesome things going on in our Journey Kidz and Journey Student ministries.

Ever had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day?

One of my favorite books growing up was Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day. If you haven't read it, or if you don't own it go get it.  It will be worth it no matter your age.
Alexander goes through a rough day where it seems like all things in his life, from his cereal, to his dentist, are working against him to bring him down.  His one plan of escape is to move to Australia. In the end, he learns from his mother that they have bad days even in Australia. No matter where you are in your life, bad days come and the trick is in how you respond to those terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days.
Today, for me, felt like one of those days.  I woke up later than I wanted to, but still in time enough to get some things done before leaving the house.  I jumped in my car with a song in my head, found it on my Ipod and hit the road.  At 930 AM, the road hit me.  Rather, a car hit me swiping my front end at an intersection.  I had the green light, so I was in the right.
Now at the time, i had a great attitude of "well, this is God's car, not mine, and everyone is alive and okay, so no big deal."
Then I got sore.  I got sore physically, and emotionally.  The more my back and neck ached, the more irritable I became.  The more irritable I got, the more vengeful I thought about all the stuff I now have to go through with insurance, car rentals, and other massive forms of red duct tape.
All of this is piling up while more and more frustration is building with other things going on in my life and I said all day, "i just need to get away for a few days".
Now, looking back on my day, I realize that attitude is not much different than our hero Alexander who learned the secret of bad days.  It's not about where you are physically, but where you are internally.  Where am I in my attitude, my perspective, my walk with God?  How content am I in my circumstances.  Have I learned to be content no matter what happens to me as Paul was?  (Phillipians 4:11).
Today I wasn't so much.  I could have been.  I chose not to be!
But now that I know it, I can work better towards being content tomorrow, right?
So, here's to your terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.  Just know that they have them everywhere, even in Australia, or Hawaii, or Bermuda, or wherever your dream spot is.

FUSION (in case you missed it!)

Our first FUSION night was excellent!  Thanks to everyone who was able to turn out for it!  For those who couldn't make it, I'm pretty sure another one might make it to the table again!
I'll be honest.  When the doors opened, I saw a few people coming in.  We gathered the leaders for prayer and after that, I had to dash off to take care of some last minute stuff….(something to do with a failed superhero costume…).  When we stepped out for the first song, I was blown away by all of the families there!  Journey had a full house!
Another honest moment (if you can spare one): This event has been in the works for two years.  From the day I joined up with Journey, this idea had been in my head.  Now, two years later, it's come about.  That's something to stop and be thankful for!  So much has happened in the lives of our families, that two years ago, I'm not sure it would have gone down quite like it did this past weekend – but His timing is so perfect.
I was backstage when Ryan was onstage – and some parents were probably being embarrassed, sorry folks! – and I remember hearing some younger kids screaming.  I leaned over to the rest of the gang and said, "that is an awesome sound!"   Why?  Well, for the first time at Journey, parents, kids, brothers and sisters, were together worshiping together, and no matter the age, no matter the screams and squeals, no one could be bothered by it.  No one can say, "Please make your kid be quiet" because everyone's kid is doing the same thing.  It was family life together and if nothing else, it was a place for families to look at each other and say, "you know what it's like to have kids?  me too!"
But it was more than that.  We can get that effect from a school play, or a backyard cookout.  What happened Friday was more than that.  It was the opportunity for kids and their parents to worship together, to praise God together, to hear from His Word together and then go home and talk about it for weeks to come.
And from what I hear, there's a certain buzzword the families have at their disposal this month, parents and kids alike!
So, after two years, a lot of families, and some great Journey Kidz Community Leaders with a lot of determination (ahem) – FUSION has begun!
Thanks everyone!

FUSION is tomorrow!

I am extremely excited about our FUSION service tomorrow night.  It's going to be a great time for families to come together and worship together.  Each week, families come through Journey and I love it.  But, there's a big gap because kids are dropped off at the door, parents go away for an hour, then they come back and leave.
But what if kids could worship with their parents?  What if kids saw how their parents worshipped?  What if parents saw how their kids worshipped?  What would that do for the dynamics of the family?
I'm not entirely sure, but I can't believe it would be bad!  Recent research showed that somewhere in the neigbhbord of 72% of parents have never had anyone from a local church contact them about how to raise their kids spiritually even though 93% of them felt it was their responsibility to train thier kids about morals and spiritual things.  So, that means families want to know and we're going to give them a few ideas!  (and maybe a few prizes…like some CD's and tickets to the fair..and a Shuffle…)
Anyway our team is excited, and our families are excited.
And there's still work to do!

a card with pigs on it

It’s hard to believe this is just our FOURTH week in the theatre since launch day. Already we have seen God do amazing things in the lives of people. Hopefully, you’ve seen amazing things done in your own life as well.

We have enrolled 9 new kids from 4 new families into our kids community. That’s HUGE! That’s an average of one new family each week. That also means there are four families that are growing together, and there are 9 kids who are learning about a BiG God at a level they can understand. Where else do kids get that?! This is a great opportunity for us to celebrate what God is doing through us.

If you are like me, then you know how easy it is to get wrapped up in details, or see all the problems that need to be fixed, or get so bogged down with other worlds colliding that it’s hard to stop and really think about what God is doing right then and there in your life. This hit me last night especially when I got a blast from the past.

Six years ago I was working at a children’s camp in Virginia. When I look back on that summer, it seems that the overall experience was “Eh. Could have been better.” The summer was plagued with problems like counselors getting into trouble, having bad attitudes, kids getting sent home, leaders not taking responsibility, things falling apart, etc. I remember so much of the bad stuff and think, “Man. That year could have been…” I was (and still do) constantly comparing that year to my previous experiences. Last night, I was sitting on the floor of my room going through a box of old stuff when I happened upon a box of cards from that summer. There was one card written from one of my greatest friends at that time that said: “Hey you are such an encouragement to me. You have so much energy in working with kids and I look up to you because I don’t know how you do it!” At the time, I’m sure that card meant a lot. Last night, it meant more. Just below that box, I found a letter from Katie Lewis, a camper I had that week. She wrote to tell me how she enjoyed camp and was ready to share Jesus with her friends. I wonder where she’s at today, now in high school. Is she still having an impact on her friends?

The point is, sometimes there is so much going on around me that I can’t see the good. The sacrifice we make seems so tough that the victory seems too far away. It’s so easy to find the little problems and the little details, that the bigger picture of God’s hand at work slips away unnoticed.

Thank you for the sacrifices each of you make each and every week to be there early, to prepare your lessons, to teach with energy and enthusiasm, and serve with joy. It’s hard sometimes, it gets frustrating but it’s so worth it.

Who am I?

Aaron is the children’s pastor at Journey Church in Raleigh, North Carolina. 

He graduated with honors from Liberty University in 2005, with a degree in English.  From there he was contracted with a theatre in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania only to hear God’s calling back to Raleigh in the fall of 2006.  After teaching at a local high school for a year, a door of opportunity was opened at Journey Church, a young church plant in Raleigh which began in 2005.  

Currently he is engaged to his beautiful fiancee, Whitney Haight, with plans to be married in June of 2010.