Are bikinis sinful?

Are bikinis sinful?

What Are Your Summer Bathing Suit Rules? Now that summer is here it is time for pool parties, lake barbecues, and beach activities. As a youth ministry professional there is always one question that seems always rise to the surface: what is appropriate summer beach attire? Every youth ministry throughout the country has different rules and regulations when it comes to what is ok to wear at events that include water. All of the rules seem to surround the ladies and their swimsuit options. Bikini? Tankini? One Piece? Or my favorite, a Potato Sack.

Because our country is large and our micro-cultures are so varied, the rules we set up become “just the way we do things.” For many of us haven’t really thought through all of the reasons and cultural issues surrounding our decisions. We don’t even get push-back anymore because, “it is just how we do things.”

This way of setting up guidelines is perfectly fine with me. But the problem is that, when the larger body of Christ comes together for some summer fun, there seems to always be some conflict. Whether it is summer camp, a joint camping trip, or a denominational gathering, issues arise when one set of rules bumps up against another set of rules.

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Ministry of presence

Ministry of presence

It is only the first week of July and I am programmatically spent.  Wrapping up a hectic youth ministry school calendar, completing VBS, and prepping for a summer mission trip has just about fried my brain.  But as I prepare to take a team to Guatemala, I am noticing God percolate a small change in my heart.

I know God is saying something like, "Ben, You are an administrative genius!  Even I am impressed with how you juggle all these details and programs.  Nice job!  However, don't forget that all these programatic endeavors are simply tools for the real work I want you to do.  You are called to be my ambassador of love and grace.  To model the incarnation and practice the ministry of presence."

Embracing presence this summer:

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Mid-Summer Letter to Parents

Bored-teenage-girl-on-couch-jpg Dear Parents,

July is already upon us and summer is in full swing!  I hope that you are soaking up a little rest and relaxation in between the continual complaints of boredom from your kids.  As you are look for places to keep your kids occupied and out of trouble, I would like to offer you a couple of simple ideas to help you thrive this summer.

1) Boredom is part of being an adult.  Feel free to affirm this reality.  Don't let them off the hook to easily and make them come up with their own plans.  Like all things, pushing through seems impossible, but when you break through there is success.  Your kids are incredibly smart and I a always impressed with how they always find a way to do exactly what they want to do.  Make them work for it.  Build some character!

2) Try not to just program you time and actually connect with your son or daughter.  I am amazed at how much of summer is going from one event to the next.  Even vacations are set up going from point A to point B.  Just like in student ministry, programs are not the final goal.  Programs are simply a tool to build relationships and memories.  Don't get too preoccupied checking off the programs of summer, but make sure you actually "see" your kids.

3) Don't let up in your's or your child's faith development.  Faith is very similar to our muscles.  The more work we put in the better shape we are in.  When we stop exercising for even a week there is a noticeable loss in ability and strength.  Take off a month and there is actually visible change.  An entire summer and now what once used to be a natural part of life now seems difficult to even jump back in.   With all the change in schedule and vacations it is easy to skip out of church and youth group for the summer.  The break might seem great at first, but getting back in can be next to impossible.  This is especially true for your kids who are relational maniacs.  And once a place doesn't work relationally for them, they are out.  You have a much higher tolerance for relational discomfort, but your kids don't.  Keep this in mind as you have conversation and make decisions as to how many times your son or daughter is going to take a "break" from church and youth group.

4) Your kids are still kids.  They are minors and believe it or not you have a say.  You get to shape what and why you do what you do.  You get to communicate that youth group and church are part of your family rhythm.  When they move out and pay their own bills and raise a family of their own, they can make whatever decisions they want.  If there is some pushback, please help your son or daughter find a way to make youth group and church a win.  This is most important for you middle school parents.  By the time your child is in 8th grade, habits are formed, relationships are made or not made, and it becomes next to impossible for your child to engage if youth group has not been a natural part of their life and rhythm.  There is not "when school starts," "next year," "when they get into high school."  This is the summer to help your kid engage!

5) Every day this summer ooze hugs and kisses on your kid.  They will externally hate it!!  But in their heart, physical touch and affirmation are the number one need of our souls and your kids aren't any different.  Love them, hug them, kiss them!!!

Ok, that is it.  My top 5 ways to help your summer be a win for you, your family, and your child's faith development.  Don't forget that all youth group happens on Wednesday night's at the Kroner's home from 5:30-7:30.  Bring $5 for dinner!  Be sure to check out our summer calendar on our church's blog for all the latest and greatest options to keep your kids connected and not bored.

I am praying for you and for your kids!!!

Have a great summer! Keep in touch! Don't ever change :)