Middle School – Out Of This World Series


OUT OF THIS WORLD: Series Overview
Have you ever been part of two very different groups? Maybe you go to a different school or you’re in different classes than the people in your neighborhood. So you’re a part of both groups. Or maybe you play on a different sports team than all of your friends. So after practice hang out with the team but on the weekends, you hang out with completely different people. When that happens, we feel like we’re from one world and living in another. We’re torn. And if we’re honest, sometimes going to church or being a Christian can make us feel that way too. We go to church and what we hear makes sense. We see people living out their faith and it looks perfectly normal, maybe even fun. But what looks good on Sunday doesn’t always feel comfortable on Monday. Back in the everyday world, living as followers of Jesus can make us feel like we’re from another planet. But does it have to be that way? And what does it look like to live for God in a culture that doesn’t necessarily think the same way? Believe it or not, these aren’t 21st century questions. Long ago, the Apostle Paul wrote a letter to the church at Philippi as they figured out how to navigate their faith and culture at the same time. As we spend the next few weeks talking about what he said, we may find that Paul’s advice to the Philippians is just as relevant for us as we learn to manage the tension and live in a way that is out of this world.

November 1 – BOTTOM LINE

Out of this world thinking is about here and there.

“They think only about this life here on earth. But we are citizens of heaven, where the
Lord Jesus Christ lives.”PHILIPPIANS 3:19-20 (NLT)
“Above all, you must live as citizens of heaven, conducting yourselves in a manner worthy of
the Good News about Christ.” PHILIPPIANS 1:27 (NLT)

November 8 – BOTTOM LINE
Out of this world thinking puts others first.

““Don’t be selfish, don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others too.” PHILIPPIANS 2:3-4 (NLT)
““You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had…” PHILIPPIANS 2:5-11 (NLT)

November 15 – BOTTOM LINE

Out of this world thinking changes what we do

“And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing: Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”

November 22 – BOTTOM LINE
Out of this world thinking impacts others for eternity

20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.

Wurst Bowl Sunday Oct. 25 @ BIG TENT in Oakwood Parking Lot!!!!


Look for the BIG TENT in the front parking lot!

Sunday, Oct 25 – Wurst Bowl Sunday, the Wurst Sunday EVER! -an “outside the box” crowd event with combined Middle School and High School activities.

9:15 – Outside Tailgate Games, Food and Fun
10AM – Big Tent Gathering with Crowd Game(s) and Team Shout Out
10:30 – Worship Music led by Billy Stephens
11AM – Speaker: Nick Person
11:45 Response Time
12pm – Dismiss

Who is Generation Z? by Tim Elmore


Dr. Tim Elmore is a leading authority on how to understand the next generation and prepare tomorrow’s leaders today. He is a best-selling author, international speaker, and president of Growing Leaders, a nonprofit that helps develop emerging leaders under the philosophy that each child is born with leadership qualities. I had the privilege to hear from him and wanted to connect you with his insights as well.

  Here is a taste of what his leadership blog produces about the next generation:

What do you make of a person who describes his or her life this way:

  • I spend the equivalent of a full-time job on three to five screens each day.
  • I made my best friends through Tumblr and Instagram.
  • I binge watch YouTube and Netflix.
  • I am not totally sure about my sexual identity.
  • I don’t identify with an ethnic race, but with the human race.
  • I don’t remember a world before social media.

photo credit: The cousins play so well together via photopin (license)


This new breed of people makes up a population called “Generation Z.” They’re the ones following Millennials (aka Generation Y) who have dominated our culture over the last decade. They now make up the youngest and largest percentage of the workforce, and Generation Z trails right behind them. They’re the new kids on the block, the teenagers. They’ve grown up in a post-9/11 culture, filled with wars, terrorism, economic recession, racial unrest, sexual-identity expansion, and lots of uncertainty. They’re extremely post-modern. If Millennials are slackers, these new kids are hackers. They know life is hard, and they plan to make their own way. Here’s a glimpse of the contrast between Gen Y and Gen Z:

Generation Y Generation Z
Alias: Millennials or Digitals Alias: Hackers or Homelanders
Born: 1983 – 2000 Born: 2001- 2018
Grew up in a time of expansion Grew up in a time of recession
Norm for teen connection: texting Norm for teen connection: social media
First tech gadget: iPod First tech gadget: iPhone
Naive and nurtured Savvy and cynical
Facebook/Instagram Snapchat/Whispr
Goal with social media: garner shares Goal with social media: disappear
Music: Lady Gaga / Bruno Mars Music: Taylor Swift / Lorde
Style: Narcissistic, I am awesome Style: Gritty, I will survive
Perspective: Optimism Perspective: Pragmatism
Shaping events: Fall of Iron Curtain; Columbine; Dot.com era; iPod Shaping events: 9/11 terrorist attacks; economic recession; iPhone

I spoke to Hannah, a fifteen-year-old who’s in her sophomore year of high school. She is a prototype of this new mindset—and gladly embraces her “people.”

She told me, “I gave up my older brother’s optimism a long time ago. I am a realist. I am a pragmatist.” (Pretty elaborate words for a fifteen-year old, don’t you think?) “My brother did a lot of stupid things and posted a bunch of them on Facebook. Now, he can’t get a job. I guess you could say I learned from him. I mean, I don’t drink at parties because… you know… someone might post their pics of me and I’d get in trouble. Maybe lose my chance to get the job I want.”

Such is the savvy spirit of Generation Z. A report by marketing firm Sparks and Honey says, “Their cohort places heavy emphasis on being ‘mature and in control.’”

They’re hackers, figuring out what to do by watching the mistakes of others. They buckle up in the car more often than Millennials did; they don’t drink or smoke as much. And they know life is tough.

Insights to Know How to Lead Them Well

The following are thoughts that could spark conversation with your colleagues about how to lead these kids from Generation Z well:

  1. While Millennials tended to look more like Baby Boomers as teens, Generation Z tends to look more like Generation X. Not ironically, these generations are their parents. We must balance the positive and negative impact of mom and dad.
  1. While Millennials want to “stay forever young,” Generation Z wants to be mature and figure out how to succeed in life. We must capitalize on this interest to grow up and be wise. Share insights on how to save and make money, as well as plan for the future.
  1. While Millennials are optimistic, Generation Z can border on pessimistic at times. Certainly, more of them are pragmatic and realistic. We will need to offer hope and vision to a generation who grew up watching unemployment and global conflict.
  1. While Millennials were into “today” and “me,” Generation Z has learned a little about life from Millennials’ shortsidedness and are thinking about the future. We must leverage this perspective and help them think long-term and big-picture.

What do you think? Have you witnessed any of these trends in Generation Z?

Click here for the Tim Elmore Blog

Parent Cue: Wired


Your student is changing fast. Chances are this isn’t a surprise. Their classes are changing. Their friends are changing. Their bodies are definitely changing. But one change you may not see as quickly are the changes that are happening in your student’s brain. As our students approach puberty, their brains are being physically rewired to function less like a child and more like an adult. New connections are forming. Old ones are collapsing. Parts of the brain are being reorganized. And with all of that activity, it’s no surprise that they may experience occasional “outages” or glitches in their judgment, their memory, and their emotional control. That means…
your straight-A scholar may suddenly forget their homework.
your sweet, quiet child may now have teenage emotional outbursts.
your reasonable, responsible student may have a few mindboggling lapses in judgment.
When that happens, our first reaction may be to panic and wonder, What went wrong here? But, most of the time, nothing is really wrong. Our students’ brains are simply under construction.
In their book, Teen Stages, authors Ken and Elizabeth Mellor describe this as a “cognitive rebirth” beginning around age 13 and continues into young adulthood. That means during middle school and high school, your student may show some behaviors reminding you a lot of their toddler and early elementary years. And…it’s perfectly normal.
While no two children are the same, and development is surely going to look different and take different amounts of time for each one, it may be helpful to look at the stages Mellor outlines to see where your student fits and what may be coming next.
As you check out the table below, find which descriptions best match your student and read to see what maybe coming in the next year. No matter what phase of rewiring your student is in, it’s important to remember that it’s only a phase. Enjoy them exactly as they are today and know that you play a key role, even during the later stages, in guiding them toward what’s next.




Sometimes the scariest thing about our students’ wiring is that it comes from us. It’s tempting to focus all our attention on the traits in our students that make us cringe—especially when we know they learned it from us. But those aren’t the only traits we’ve passed down. If you think about it, there are also some pretty great things in your students’ wiring that came from you.
This week, take notice of one positive trait in your student that they inherited from you. (This can be something you can do as a step parent, adoptive parent or foster parent as well. Genetics may be responsible for some traits, but observation and learned behavior play an important role, too!)
Maybe you’re both good at math. Maybe your son is starting to show some of your great conversational skills. Or maybe your daughter is wired to be competitive, just like you. No matter what it is, pay attention to the positive traits passed on to your student. Then, copy the section below. Fill it out and leave it somewhere for your student this week.






One thing I love about the Fall here at Oakwood is that our Church finds ways to Intentionally Engage our community in amazing ways.

Think about it,  Fall Festival transforms our parking lot into a safe place for our community to enjoy fun entertainment, LOTS OF CANDY, and sense the love of Jesus through our church as we SERVE OTHERS.  Right after that, OPERATION CHRISTMAS CHILD gets us into gear to serve someone in another country as a family by filling up one little shoebox.  Heart of Hope, December 6, leads us to pack a grocery bag or two, invite families in our community to dinner and give their children the ability to have a Christmas when they may be able to afford it.

All these events give you and your Middle School Student an opportunity to serve, and it makes a BIG DIFFERENCE!

Brooklyn Lyndsey puts it this way in her Serving Through the Phases E-Single:


Here are some thoughts about serving in the Middle School Phase…

Service can be a significant tool in the life of a middle schooler—a
powerful tool that too often gets overlooked. Because when you
give a middle schooler the opportunity to serve, you’re helping
them to answer the most terrifying questions they’re facing. And
those questions are:

  1. Where do I fit in? (Where we all fit in—helping others and
    showing God’s love.)
  2. What can I offer? (You can offer a warm meal, a friendship, a
  3. Why do I matter? (Because you’re making a difference in the
    world and you show off God’s heart like no one else does.)

Service forces a middle schooler to look through a window instead
of a mirror. It gives them a break from the all-consuming woes of
their own life (and to a middle schooler, they are all-consuming!) to
focus on someone else—on a world much bigger than the halls of
their middle school.

Check out Serving through the phases by Brooklyn Lyndsey


Adam McClane on Why You Should Delete SnapChat


Why You Should Delete SnapChat (click here for full blog)

I’ve been engaged in various forms of social media since AOL chat rooms in 1994. And I’ve never seen a more dangerous application targeting teenagers, specifically girls, than SnapChat.

The premise of SnapChat is simple. You take a picture, send it to a friend, and they can only see it for up to 10 seconds before it’s deleted.

And that’s where the lie begins.

I want to be blunt. My goal for this post is to motivate you to delete SnapChat from your phone.

Reason #1 – SnapChat is built on a lie

In my book, A Parent’s Guide to Understanding Social Media, I share three rules about social media which lead me to the conclusion that SnapChat isn’t to be trusted:

Rule #1 – Everything posted online is public

I wrote about this in depth here.

The central premise of SnapChat is that what you are sending is private. That’s a lie. There is a very real risk that everything you share with any app or on any website will become public. One day, every image you post online may  become associated with your name. When you post something online you give up the ability to control where that image goes. So even if you aren’t using your real name to post with SnapChat, that “private image” may one day pop up in a Google Search of your name.

The same is true of anywhere you post something online. You always must know that what you are posting could become public.

Rule #2 – There’s no such thing as anonymity online, only perceived anonymity.

Any time your device connects to the internet it associates 100% of your activity with your device. (Every device has a unique identifier, like a finger print. When you buy it and register it that transaction is linked to you and everything you do with it is ultimately pointing back to you.)

Every site, every image you upload/download, every search, every call… everything is associated with that device. E.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. Even if you delete it. Even if you use a proxy server. Even if… E.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g.

The content isn’t always saved, but the activity itself most definitely is.

With SnapChat, the perception that your account is anonymous… meaning it is using a pseudonym [An account name] and not your real name, makes it easy to think that you are disassociating what you send on SnapChat from “the real you.”

Pure and simple. Perceived anonymity is dangerous. And SnapChat uses that to their advantage to get you to trust it. Over time you’ll begin to think that if you’re using a fake name, what you send can’t be tracked back to you.

But that’s not how the internet works at all.

SnapChat knows who you are, where you are, and they store it all. (They are legally bound to.) Even though their marketing copy says they don’t… their terms of service say that they do store it AND they have the right to sell that information as an asset to the company which they can sell. (See Usage Data on their terms of service. Also look at the language in their privacy policy: “We cannot guarantee that deletion always occurs within a particular timeframe.” This is important because when you create an account you are legally agreeing to these terms even though it’s exactly opposite of the marketing.)

Rule #3 There’s no such thing as online privacy, only perceived online privacy

Read On by clicking here