solid rock 15Each summer Cincinnati Christian University invites high school students to participate in a two-week event called SOLID ROCK. Students meet on the campus of CCU for a week of rehearsal to create and learn a program of ministry through music and the arts. During the second week, the group travels by charter bus to present their program at a different church every night.

My son and a few former students from WCC have participated in SOLID ROCK in the past and had a great experience. We have one student this year who is preparing to send her application in to be a part of this summer’s program.

If you are a high school student (or know a high school student) who enjoys the arts (singing, playing a musical instrument or the technical side of things), check out SOLID ROCK. It’s a great experience and also creates relationships that last beyond the two weeks together.

Information on the program and how to apply are on the Cincinnati Christian University website. Dates for 2015 are July 5-10 (on campus) and July 11-17 (on tour). The application packet is due March 16th. Go check it out.

Master Provisions 2013

MP 1 2013Yesterday we took what has become our annual trip to work with Master Provisions. I’ve posted about previous trips in 2011 and 2012 and it was another good experience working with a great ministry.

Our tasks this year included sorting and packing winter coats, gloves, hats and scarves to be used for local outreach. After we finished that, we sorted summer clothes (headed for Africa at some point) and winter clothes. The summer clothes were packed for shipping while with winter clothes were put on cars to be packed later.

It has been great to see how Master Provisions has grown, which has included hiring more staff and acquiring their own warehouse and office space. It feels like the times we go to help, we make such a small dent in the work that needs to be done. It is an ongoing ministry of collecting, sorting, packing and shipping clothing while also raising funds for costs associated with shipping and actually going to the various countries they serve. The people who serve there have a heart for what they do.

Serving at the warehouse is a great experience for any able-bodied person. Our group had a good day and we look forward to going back again.

Master Provisions – by the Numbers

Over the weekend (Friday & Saturday), 15 of our IMPACT students and adults went to Florence, KY, to assist Master Provisions in packing a container that will be delivered to Togo.  We have had the privilege to work with Master Provisions for nearly 10 summers and have watched the ministry grow.  This year was significant because this container was the 500th container Master Provisions sent out.

Here are some numbers we learned over the weekend about the ministry.


– This is the 500th container since the ministry began in 1994.

– It costs roughly $4,800 to ship one container (a local Skyline Chili restaurant paid for $4,500 of the costs – I knew there was a reason I really liked Skyline!)

– Each container that is sent impacts approximately 20,000 people (so, multiply 500 containers by 20,000….)

– Through the course of a year, Master Provisions has 10,000 volunteers who donate clothes, sort and pack, give funds, go on trips and much more.

We enjoy coming alongside this great ministry…and we have fun, too!

Our group sorted shoes, hats, belts and other clothing items

Helped load the container

And even found some cool hats

Master Provisions Packing Trip

For the past several summers our youth group has partnered with Master Provisions and helped pack clothes for their ministry. We are heading out this weekend to help prepare a shipment to Togo.

Here’s the cool thing – this will be the 500th shipment sent out by Master Provisions.  Here’s what they put on their website:

500th Container Celebration: Togo Party

June 16, 2012 | 11:00am

MASTER Provisions celebrates the shipping of the 500th container. Our “Togo” party will commence at 11:00 by packing the Togo-bound container with the help of volunteers from Wilmington Church of Christ. Skyline Chili of Burlington, KY is sponsoring the shipping of the container and will also be serving delicious Cincinnati Chili for Lunch.

You can check out their ministry on the Master Provisions website.

Simply Youth Ministry: A Heart for God (re-post)

I receive a regular e-mail from Simply Youth Ministry with different thoughts and insights about youth ministry.  This week’s is focusing on the heart.  Monday’s devo was excellent and I wanted to re-post it.  I thought what they said about fakers was right on.

Youth Ministry Basics: A Heart for God
by Kurt Johnson & Josh Griffin

I (Josh) did a survey on my blog not too long ago asking youth workers to share about their Bible reading and personal time with God. The results from the more than 400 votes were staggering – almost 10% of youth workers hadn’t cracked their Bibles in a week and only 18% considered their Bible reading “solid”.

Here’s the deal – we get it…there are certainly seasons where you are closer to God than others. Certain times of the year or patterns that lend themselves to spending time with God, or that make it tough to do. But if we were honest …it’s fair to say that if youth workers aren’t reading their Bibles, the whole thing is going to collapse sooner rather than later. And if we’re being really honest … we would admit to you that from time to time we’ve been caught up in the pace of youth ministry and not connected significantly to Christ either. And if we’re being really, really honest…we would admit it happens more often than it should.

“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing …” John 15:5

Youth pastors are great fakers. That’s pretty harsh, but honestly – most Christians are good fakers. We pretend that we’re walking with God by using the correct Christian subculture language. We count listening to Gungor on our 4-minute commute to the church office as our devotions for the day. We subscribe to the Verse of the Day on Twitter (@abibleverse) and every once in a while even look at it.

You can fake it for a while … but not forever. Too often we hide behind charisma, talents, gifts and abilities when the real us is dying in a spiritual pile. This type of shallow spirituality makes us an easy target for the Enemy and prime candidates for a sudden stumble or fall. God has gifted you, but don’t arrogantly think you can lead without him. Follow THE leader!

Recommit to a genuine, ongoing relationship with Christ as you minister in His Name. Good youth ministry starts with a leader whose heart is sold-out to Christ. Good youth ministry is done by youth workers connected to the vine. Let today be the first day when we start to change the statistic and t is rare the youth worker who isn’t connected to Christ daily.

Here’s some practical advice from youth workers in the trenches who are finding creative ways to spend time with God:

– Before you look at any screen, spend time with God.
– Take the first few minutes of your office hours in prayer
– Pray with your spouse before bed each night – Is it okay for me (Kurt) to admit that this one is tough for me?
– Block out one afternoon a month to reconnect with God
– Use one of’s reading plans on your Evo

Clothes to Ghana and Kosovo

Last weekend a group of 17 students and adults from our church went to Florence, KY, to partner with Master Provisions and sort and pack clothes that will eventually end up in Ghana and Kosovo.

We have been privileged to be associated with this ministry for the past 7-8 years.  It has been great seeing how God has grown this ministry.  In our previous trips, we went to whatever warehouse space Master Provisions was given to use.  Now, through a series of events that God put together, the ministry now has their own warehouse and office space.  An added bonus is that we were the first group to stay there!

During the time we were there, we unloaded bags, sorted clothes for both warm and cold climates, packed bags for both countries and emptied one semi trailer by moving bags to another trailer.  The semi trailer we emptied was leaving for Michigan to pick up more clothes.

Master Provisions takes the excess we have in the US and sends it to countries in need to not only provide clothing, but also fund kingdom work and share the good news of Jesus.  Our group worked hard (most of the time), but was blessed to be a part of the bigger work God is doing through that ministry.

Check out what Master Provisions is doing by visiting their website and reading the latest newsletter.