Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Youth Groups Destroy Children's Lives - or do they?

Every once in a while people send me articles on Youth Ministry.  Some catch my eye, some I simply read and delete.  An article sent to me recently caught my eye.  It comes from a blog and the link is:


Having given you the link, I felt it ok to copy and paste the article to my blog to allow for some dialogue within the article (My comments will be in Blue).  This discussion about the effectiveness of Youth Groups has been going on for many many years and I like what this author has to say.  So, take some time to read through the article with me, and I'll be making comments as we go along.  

Ok, so I [David Fitch]  was quoted in the recent book Hipster Christianity as saying these words “Youth Groups Destroy Children’s Lives.” Putting aside the issues I have with the book itself, I admit I was quoted accurately by the book’s author Bret McCracken.  I often use the pedagogical tactic that starts out by saying something provocative and then, after I’ve gotten myself into some trouble, and acquired some people’s attention,  I try to explain myself. Dave got my attention with the title and opening words.  

It’s a bad rhetorical habit. Nonetheless, it works. This time it seems to have attracted some attention so let me take advantage of it and explain what I meant.

I think youth groups often do things that work against the formation of our youth into life with Christ and His Mission. They also soak up huge time and resources in ways that are a detriment to the community life of the church. I think it would be good for parents seeking churches to think through these issues.When I first started Youth Ministry, I might have gotten angry reading this sort of paragraph, but as I've grown and evolved in Youth Ministry, I'd have to say I agree with David.  Youth Ministries done in certain ways are a huge time and resource sucker....I'm just curious to know what he means by that,and then compare how Calvin is doing against that backdrop.  

I also agree that parents coming to a church should not just be looking for a church with good programming, but should be asking why that programming is happening and is the overall programming leading somewhere.  All too often parents are just happy to have something for their children when it comes to church, and that's only 1/2 the equation.  

Prototype youth groups are built on the worst of modernist assumptions concerning the way human beings develop as cultural beings. They play into the worse impulses of parents who don’t get what is happening right before their very eyes when their children start to take on the moral formation of the ubiquitous culture at large. (Parents want young hip experts to save their kids – UH THAT DON’T WORK!!).
That's a strong statement, but some would agree with it.  When it comes to child development,  young people are entering those years where they want to disassociate with their parents as a natural part of life  (trust me on this, I have one of those teenagers in my home : ) )  

Young people are also wondering about the culture that they are part of and are starting to explore it and ask questions about it in the context of their family, church, and school life.  Whether parents get that or not, Youth Groups DO allow maturing Christian young people to be in a place where they can see others doing the same exploring and discuss with other adults (aside from their parents) the issues that relate to their lives.  It's never been easy growing up as a teenager, no matter what era you are talking about.  

Finally, I don't think David gives parents the credit they deserve today.  Sure, there are parents who may leave the Christian education of their children to the church, or a Christian School, but I think many a Christian parent wants to be involved in their children's lives but need help navigating those turbulent years.    

 They think the answer is to somehow get their children to a place where the youth culture attracts them and somehow makes Christianity attractive to their age group. All these things, I argue, work against the child growing up into a vital and real relationship with the living God and what He has done in Christ for the world.
Interesting comment.  In my experience [and maybe I'm an anomaly in YM] I think that for some young people this is what keeps them in the church.  They have questions, and they hope to get some answers from their church youth group, comprised of young people their age(ish).  Nothing wrong with that.  The mistake that is made by Youth Pastors/Ministries is that they feel they have to offer only entertaining things to get kids to come to church.  Not so.  If you are authentic and give kids the Truth, the church can be a great asset to a family raising teenagers.   

I offer the following three comments – all three of which have been said many times by people much smarter than me on these issues. (I now prepare myself for the onslaught of backlash I am sure to get for this post).Hey David, not from me.....b/c there's usually a grain of truth in things and I hope to find some in your next comments......

1.) YOUTH GROUPS FOSTER PEER ORIENTATION. Youth groups segregate the youth from the adults creating programing geared towards them as a separate culture. 
I used to do ministry this way, but not any longer.  I see many churches in our city offering separate "youth church" when regular services are going on, or even "family church" running parallel to the regular services. I can't say I like that sort of youth/family ministry because there is a richness in doing things intergenerationally.  

This creates a gap between the youth and the adults culturally. This then leads the youth to look to their peers for orientation into life. This I contend works against the discipleship of youth into Christ. I contend this peer orientation is disastrous for the lives of our children.
If done incorrectly, David's accusations can happen.  If done correctly, and by that I mean youth ministry balanced more intergenerationally, then youth will have adult discipleship influences in their lives, as well as a place where they can simply hang out with their peers and learn and grow in the faith together.  

Of course our culture at large already does this. And our parents generally eat it up. It’s a fact that, due to the economic and cultural changes of modern society, children/teenagers have been segregated in school classrooms, and targeted as a separate niche consumer market by culture industries. As a result, they look increasingly to their peers for a sense of right and wrong, for values, identity, codes of behavior. They have less connection with adults either in or outside immediate family (you need both) as role models for life. This undermines healthy development and  fosters hostile and sexualized youth culture. Children lose their true individuality, become overly conformist, desensitized and alienated. Being “cool” matters more to them than anything else. This is American culture! In the words of child psychologist Gordon Neufeld (a book I’d recommend), peer orientation undercuts the necessary parental connection in that parental nurturance cannot get through, is always insecure, cannot bring the child to rest, and is unable to be fulfilled (closeness unmet). As such peer orientation crushes individual development.

Youth groups that play to this peer group dynamic create the playground for all of the above developmental issues to explode. This leads to the next observation.
I can't disagree with David on these points, and only hope that more youth ministries get this point and are trying to be counter-cultural on these issues.  Youth need adults in their lives (especially their parents) who can help them navigate the culture they live in and  how they can be transformers of it.  


As Neil Cole has put it so well here (click on “What about kids in Organic Church?”), children learn about the living God by being in living relationships within a community where God is present. 
Two thumbs up from me on this statement.  These living relationships need to be more than just relationships with each other as Youth (even if our youth would rather that be the case all the time).  

That's why we at Calvin offer soup and buns and games times with our Seniors and Intergenerational Student Education times (parents and their children do church education together) and intergenerational Learning Opportunities (aka Mission Trips).  That's why we've hosted a Youth Unlimited Special Needs SERVE site for the past three years and many of the mentors that help our special needs participants have ended up coming from our youth group.  They need to know they can be trusted in the life of the church and contribute.  They shine during SERVE.  

Once Jesus becomes infotainment, 
(ok, I have to admit that infotainment is an interesting word and one I had to look up).  

once it becomes a program, detached from real relationships, it loses its reality. 
Absolutely agree.  Any ministry in a church should not just be a program, but should be about connecting people with people who are in turn connecting with God.  It's all about relationships, relationships, relationships...

It takes on the character of a learning experience in competition with other learning experiences. That’s a competition I’m just not interested in. In the midst of all these learning programs, children are consistently learning their allegiances from real life interactions with adults they respect. They sense insincerity and/or lack of integrity immediately. The life in Christ becomes attractive through the irresistable love of Christ that is shared visibly in and around our life together. If children are not immersed in this world, chances are they will find church boring and irrelevant. They will not withstand the discipline necessary to be shaped into something more than immediate gratifications. They will not have the wherewithal to give it time and learn what “Jesus is Lord” means as that reality by which we live our lives into His Kingdom.
Yep. Faith formation is hard work and should not be done in isolation from other generations.  Iron sharpens Iron.  : ) 


It’s a mistake to try to “attract” youth to discipleship with either social occasions that play on their sexual insecurities or music entertainment that plays on their desire to be “cool.” There will be times I am sure to attend the occasional rock concert or have the occasional social time together. But what the church should do for its youth most of all is foster spaces for meeting God where they can be trained to listen for God and commune with Him in silence, in prayer. 
Strong words, but I think David is suggesting balance once again.  If we ONLY entertain youth, we've missed the mark.  We need to challenge our youth to grow in faith and life. Prayer, worship, fasting and other disciplines are a sure way to do that, but I don't agree that this is the only way.  

We don't want to entertain, but we also want youth to see that faith formation is not like having a root canal.  Whatever we offer, we should want it to be more than just something that the world offers (though a simple evening ski trip can become a wonderful time for deep faith conversations if youth pastors/leaders are trusted by their teens and are willing to take risks by starting the conversation in the first place).  

Youth Ministries that don't want to entertain take much more work, but aren't our youth worth it?  

Mark Yaconelli does a great job explaining this basic thing. I have seen this basic concept transform youth groups overnight in churches of some of my students. 
I applaud the fact that David is challenging us to go deeper with our kids.  In an age of entertainment overload the church needs to position itself as more than another social option for our youth.  It needs to be a place where they know they are safe to explore issues of faith and life with each other, and with the church community as a whole.

My only comment here would be that it's easier to think about, focus on, and implement this sort of intentional ministry when you have paid staff to do it.  Many churches don't have that luxury, and I take my hat off to churches who manage to fulfill what David is suggesting  using dedicated volunteers.  They are priceless (as are the one's we have here at Calvin BTW  :  ) )  

I also think the other best thing we can do for youth is organize mission trips  (what I've come to term "Learning Opportunities" now) to places in need around the world where youth come together to sacrifice and make a difference for the kingdom. This kind of mission trip (as opposed to a resort-like vacation) is a spiritual practice we must regularly encourage and fund in our churches. Again, I have singularly seen this practice transform the lives of youth in churches I have observed or worked with.
I agree with David, but would like to take that challenge one step further.  If we are truly going to adhere to David's comments about surrounding our youth with a church community, then "Learning Opportunities"  should also be done in a community context.  We've gone to Peru three times over six years for our Trips, and a beautiful partnership with the church there is beginning to grow.  

It began as a "youth group mission trip."  It has evolved into an "Intergenerational Learning Opportunity."  Youth only mission trips are good, but they miss the mark.  Have a youth go on a trip and then come home and relate that to their parents, and 9 times out of 10 you'll get single word answers.  : )  Go together as father/son, mother/daughter, grandparent/ grandson, and you come home with shared experiences that change lives in a much richer way.     

 Generally speaking, we need to be involved in mission in our everyday lives and take our children with us as we minister in our everyday lives (the other day I suggested to someone take their children to the hospital with them in praying for the sick – this was not a good idea because evidently our children bring germs that adults don’t … oh well).
I like this thought by David.  One of the "issues" I continue to have with coming home from a great Learning Opportunity is making it "stick".  After many of these, that's still something that needs work.  Being involved in missions every day is a refreshing way to think of things, and taking our children with us is even more out there, but I like the challenge.  

I'd love to see our church have a one day, or multi-day, mission event where families go into our city.  These things should be happening several times a year, intergenerationally, and in-between the big trips.  

In closing, I believe the youth ministry of a church is vitally important.
Well, I confess, I'm biased and do this for a living, so yes, I concur.  : )  

 But we must discern carefully what we are doing. 
I equally concur here.  

Whether we have three youth or fifty, we need youth leaders to do things to foster authentic adult relationships with the youth. 
When I was in Sarnia, I had 85 youth, 12 youth leaders, and about 12 student leaders.  As I look back on those times, I see that success happened because we invested in the lives of teens intentionally as a community.  Many of those youth are now active in churches (no, not necessarily in the CRC), even ministers.  Cool stuff.  

Here in Ottawa, the size of the group has been as large as 12, as few as 3.  In all of it, we once again have decided to be relational in nature.  We do have a group that meets separately every Tuesday evening, and they have a hoot together.  Friends invite friends and we have grown.  I make no apologies for that, and think it's a vital part of our youth ministry strategy.  

We struggle with trying not to entertain, and have our moments of success, and yes, failure.  However, we have also realized that the rest of the church community would be missing something if our youth weren't actively involved in many aspects of our church life.  

Hence, they are in an intergenerational praise band, some teach church school together, many are running our sound system and video elements of worship, we have an intergenerational church education component (which is hard on families due to busy schedules and such, but they have stuck it out.  In all of that they interact with other generations within our church community.  They don't know it I think, but they are actually teaching we as adults many things. 

I also know that these wonderful youth need space to be just that - young.  A safe place to hang out together, with minimal - yet intentional - adult supervision to simply have fun, or be challenged in their walk with God. 

Let us make the community aware that we ARE A COMMUNITY and we have to treat our youth as among us and indeed take responsibility to love them, pray for them,  watch over them, initiate them and model Christ before them and with them. 
When our children are baptized we make promises to raise them to come to a clear understanding of who Jesus is in their life.  Many of the things we now do in Calvin's Youth Ministry help with this.  Can we do better?  Yep.  In fact we are trying to figure out who we are and where we might be going as a church, and this may change how we do things even more in the area of youth ministry.  That excites me.  I hope it does too for you who are members of Calvin CRC.  

Let us foster safe spaces for them to ask all their questions and learn how to listen for God in their lives. Let us do mission trips and bring them with us in all the ways we participate in Christ’s Mission in the world.
As a P.S. to that, in order to bring them with us, we need to be willing to go ahead of them.  We need show our youth that we are serious about OUR relationship with Jesus and in that, things get infectious and the Gospel is transferred from generation to generation.  

We ALSO need to realize that at times youth MAY actually be ahead of us, and we need to follow them.  That's the true mark of a church community willing to "participate in Christ's Mission in the world...."  

My challenge to those in Calvin is (and I'm speaking to myself as well):  Are you willing to go?  AND  Are you willing to recognize when it might be time to follow? 

One last thing....in all of this there is one thing I fear.  In getting our youth involved in the church community, let's not assume that we as adults can sit back and watch.  We ALL need to be active in service in the Kingdom....all of us.  If not, we are not complete as a body, and we all will suffer much more than what David is suggesting here.  

At Life on the Vine, these are the things we’re ever working on.

I hope you enjoyed the interaction, and maybe you have further thoughts on all of this.  email me at youthpastor@calvincrc.ca  or post a comment on my blog.  

Pastor Ron Hosmar

Thinking of having Kids? Try these steps and see if you still want them : )

I'm a Youth Pastor and am always looking for material to assist parents in raising their children well. I'm also a parent, so those things I find are also designed to help me.  

I also have a strange sense of humour and love funny things when it comes to Youth Ministry.  Someone sent me this stuff below in an email and as I read it I almost peed myself because this is just all so true.  Hence, as fair warning, or just so you can laugh with me, I just had to share it with those who follow my blog.  

Many of the youth who I have ministered to over my years have dated someone, and then married and are having children.  I wish I had given them this humourous advice before they had children.  

Today's youth can read this and try out some of the recommendations, and then know more clearly what it takes to raise a child.  It might even change a few minds.  : ) 

Finally, even though this is all tongue-in-cheek I'm also acutely aware that there are couples out there who simply wish they could have children.  These lessons may cause you some pain, but they are not intended to offend.  I trust you can see the humour in them, and as you walk that often silent road of grief, you will be able to smile at the lessons as well and maybe feel a bit of stress relief, which is what laughter can do for us. 

So, whether you have children, are hoping to have children, or are way far away from that consideration, read on and see how many of the lessons you'd dare try.  

11 Step Program for Those Thinking About Having Kids

Lesson 1
1. Go to the grocery store.

2. Arrange to have your salary paid directly to their head office.

3. Go home.

4. Pick up the paper.

5. Read it for the last time.

Lesson 2
Before you finally go ahead and have children, find a couple who already are parents and berate them about their...

1. Methods of discipline.

2. Lack of patience.

3. Appallingly low tolerance levels.

4. Allowing their children to run wild.

5. Suggest ways in which they might improve their child's breastfeeding, sleep habits, toilet training, table manners, and overall behavior.

Enjoy it because it will be the last time in your life you will have all the answers.

Lesson 3
A really good way to discover how the nights might feel...

1. Get home from work and immediately begin walking around the living room from 5PM to 10PM carrying a wet bag weighing approximately 8-12 pounds, with a radio turned to static (or some other obnoxious sound) playing loudly. (Eat cold food with one hand for dinner)

2. At 10PM, put the bag gently down, set the alarm for midnight, and go to sleep.

3. Get up at 12 and walk around the living room again, with the bag, until 1AM.

4. Set the alarm for 3AM.

5. As you can't get back to sleep, get up at 2AM and make a drink and watch an infomercial.

6. Go to bed at 2:45AM.

7. Get up at 3AM when the alarm goes off.

8. Sing songs quietly in the dark until 4AM.

9. Get up. Make breakfast. Get ready for work and go to work (work hard and be productive).

Repeat steps 1-9 each night. Keep this up for 3-5 years. Look cheerful and together.

Lesson 4
Can you stand the mess children make? To find out...

1. Smear peanut butter onto the sofa and jam onto the curtains.

2. Hide a piece of raw chicken behind the stereo and leave it there all summer.

3. Stick your fingers in the flower bed.

4. Rub them on the clean walls.

5. Take your favorite book, photo album, etc. Wreck it.

6. Spill milk on your new pillows. Cover the stains with crayons. How does that look?

Lesson 5
Dressing small children is not as easy as it seems.

1. Buy an octopus and a small bag made out of loose mesh.

2. Attempt to put the octopus into the bag so that none of the arms hang out.

Time allowed for this - all morning.

Lesson 6
Forget the BMW and buy a mini-van. And don't think that you can leave it out in the driveway spotless and shining. Family cars don't look like that.

1. Buy a chocolate ice cream cone and put it in the glove compartment. Leave it there.

2. Get a dime. Stick it in the CD player.

3. Take a family size package of chocolate cookies. Mash them into the back seat. Sprinkle cheerios all over the floor, then smash them with your foot.

4. Run a garden rake along both sides of the car.

Lesson 7
Go to the local grocery store. Take with you the closest thing you can find to a pre-school child. (A full-grown goat is an excellent choice). If you intend to have more than one child, then definitely take more than one goat. Buy your week's groceries without letting the goats out of your sight. Pay for everything the goat eats or destroys. Until you can easily accomplish this, do not even contemplate having children.

Lesson 8
1. Hollow out a melon.

2. Make a small hole in the side.

3. Suspend it from the ceiling and swing it from side to side.

4. Now get a bowl of soggy Cheerios and attempt to spoon them into the swaying melon by pretending to be an airplane.

5. Continue until half the Cheerios are gone.

6. Tip half into your lap. The other half, just throw up in the air.

You are now ready to feed a nine- month-old baby.

Lesson 9
Learn the names of every character from Sesame Street, Barney, Disney, the Teletubbies, and Pokemon. Watch nothing else on TV but PBS, the Disney channel or Noggin for at least five years. (I know, you're thinking What's 'Noggin'?) Exactly the point.

Lesson 10
Make a recording of Fran Drescher saying 'mommy' repeatedly. (Important: no more than a four second delay between each 'mommy'; occasional crescendo to the level of a supersonic jet is required). Play this tape in your car everywhere you go for the next four years. You are now ready to take a long trip with a toddler.

Lesson 11
Start talking to an adult of your choice. Have someone else continually tug on your skirt hem, shirt- sleeve, or elbow while playing the 'mommy' tape made from Lesson 10 above. You are now ready to have a conversation with an adult while there is a child in the room.

So, how many would you try, or how many can you remember that are true as a parent.....?

You gotta laugh about parenthood at times.  I know God certainly has a sense of humour as he created these little ones and we call them "God's Gift to Us......"   

Well, maybe most of the time........  : )  

Ron Hosmar - Parent of 3 "Gifts" of God.  : )  

Friday, January 21, 2011

CIA Pancake Breakfast Jan 2011

Winter in Ottawa means many things:  skiing, skating on the canal, tobogganing down hills, cross country skiing, and yes, Calvin's annual Pancake Breakfast.  This year we held it on Saturday, January 15.  We aren't going to Peru this year, so the older youth group was in charge of this year's breakfast.  

We've been doing these breakfasts for years now [even before I came to Ottawa], but the last 4 years have been amazing.  That's due to our master chef, John, who enjoys cooking, and is a great breakfast maker.  He has graciously helped us out over the past 4 years.  I can't even remember how we raised funds with "just add water" pancakes.  : )  

What makes these breakfasts so great is that John continually is trying to improve from the year before, as am I now.  So, for this year, we did away with the apple pancakes, and introduced a basic food group requirement in life:  Dark Chocolate!  : )  

The pancakes were blueberry, and thin crepe like ones, and then dark chocolate wrapped inside dough rolled up.  Yummy!  

I added real syrup this time  (that stuff tastes really good, but boy is it pricey), and better sausages.   With all these changes, I think this was one of the better breakfasts we offered.  The comments we received afterwards sure backed that up.  : )  Below is a picture diary of the Friday prep time and Saturday breakfast.  Enjoy.   


In order to make sure things run well in the morning, we have been preparing certain elements the night before.  For this breakfast it was the dark chocolate rolls.  Here is Leah cutting up the dark chocolate.....did you taste test any Leah? 

 Even though I might be the "Youth Pastor" and even though I might be viewed as the "organizer" of the events we do, I'm smart enough to know that there are others who make our events succeed.  I'm also smart enough to know when to get out of the way and let others lead.  When it comes to our breakfast, I'm simply doing whatever John wants me too.  In this case, it's washing dishes.  I can do that well : ) .  

 John took the time to teach the YP how to make the chocolate rolls.  Jacob's ready to go.  Sorry I missed most of your body in the pic Jacob, but hey, John's the star of the show today.  : )  

Now this is an interesting picture.  Father John and daughter Hannah looking at the same task and if you look closely, pretty much the same facial expression.  : )  Both seem to be taking this very seriously.  

 You need to know that John has 6 kids, and two of them are now in CIA.  Here's Ben learning the tricks of the trade from John.  Ben was amazing and will be a much better cook than I'll ever be.....   : )  

 Fontana decided it would be great to cut some chocolate with Leah, and that can only lead to trouble, if you ask me. Here Fontana is commenting on her hands....

 Hey, if you are going to cut chocolate, you are going to get dirty....suck it up Foo, Foo.  

Once the chocolate is cut, it's placed in the dough, that has been cut into pizza sized shapes.....well, why don't I just let you see how it's done via video.  Look below......

Video of making dark chocolate rolls.  

 No event involving food goes by without someone doing something to someone with said food.  This time it was me being floured....and no, this time I did not provoke that attack at all................this time....  : )  Thanks Ben, for the flour face. 

 In the midst of the seriousness of working, there are always moments when Fontana and Leah, and others, do strange things.  Someone got hold of the camera and, well, here's the result.  Very interesting Fontana....how long did you hold your breath for? 

 Just as weird Leah....just as weird....   :  )  

 The end result of our labours for the evening.  You can't see the chocolate, but it's there, just waiting to be consumed on Saturday.  

 Hmmm, this is interesting.  Not something I'd suggest you try at home......just so you know, this wasn't wrapped around Hannah's head....thankfully.  John, were you keeping track of your kids?????  Obviously I wasn't.  

 This picture just puzzles me.  We are done working, so maybe Hannah is very happy and ready to jump for joy?  

So, we have finished our preparation work, and now it's time to catch a couple of hours sleep before arriving back at church at 6:30 am.  

Saturday Morning

 6:30 am sure comes quickly.  I didn't sleep well, that's for sure. I'm always afraid I'm going to sleep in, and that would be embarrassing.  As we slowly woke up, we began to get things ready.  Here's Leah putting cups out on the tables.   

 Jonah and Ben making the OJ.   It was very good this year.  A secret blend.  : ) 

 We began the morning in the kitchen by baking the rolls.  They came out looking wonderful.......

 A dark chocolate glaze on the outside just adds to the flavour.  Don't they look amazing? 

 As others were getting the fellowship hall ready, John was busy steering some YP in getting batter ready for the blueberry pancakes and crepe like pancakes  (the dutch word is "Pannekoeken," in case you were wondering).  

 We have a welcome table that allows people to pick up their donation envelopes, and a brief explanation sheet that outlines why we are doing what we are doing.  Here's Megan getting those important donation envelopes ready.  

 Jeannine giving Megan a hand.  

 Jacob stayed over at our house (I think we're just going to make him our pseudo son now).  He's loads of fun.  Don't you like his chef outfit.  You'd think he was trying to move in on John's turf or something.  : )  I decided to wear my Grinch t-shirt JUST for the fun of it.  It got lots of comments.  : )  

 Hannah wore her Bday t-shirt as well.  Just had to get a picture of that....though I DON'T think Hannah wanted to be in it.  : ) 

 The setting up continues.  REAL syrup and margarine for the pancakes.  Yummy.  

Megan was charged with breaking eggs for the batter.  What a hoot watching that.......how many shells did you get in the bowl Megan......  (tee, hee).  

 So, here's a story.  Micheal has a job, and he does dishes for that job.  See how he loves doing dishes.  I was actually supposed to help him, but alas, I ended up schmoozing with the patrons, and helping out in other areas  (not cooking FYI) so he ended up having to do much of this with David....Sorry about that Michael, but you did an awesome job.  

 It was 8:00 am and it was time to rally the troops.  Here I am assigning tasks to everyone and giving them a pep talk....I sure hope they were listening.  

 The boys hanging out before the storm of people come in.  

Fontana became our front-line person.  She's so bubbly and has a great smile, and as you can see, she's ready to welcome one and all.......

 Just before the crush of people, the group takes a relax break.   

 Even though the people haven't arrived yet, the kitchen is humming.  Ken is making sure those rolls come out JUST right......

 Chris gets the blueberry pancakes moving.  

 Jacob taking his Chef role very seriously.  

 Our first patron rolled into the fellowship hall at 8:05 am.  Twenty-five minutes early.  Jackie mentioned something about trying to buy light bulbs, but no stores were open yet.....hmmmmm

 The room is just beckoning for patrons......

 John manages the Pannekoeken, alone!!!!!  : ) 
Some things are best left to the expert.  

 Megan is getting the rolls ready for consumption.  

 Now the fun begins.  People are arriving.  

 Everyone's happy so far.  Look at all that food...and those sausages.....yummy!

 Both young and old came out this morning.  I think the young loved the chocolate ALOT!!!!!  : ) 

 Good thing the patrons can't see what really goes on in the kitchen.  That's just gross Leah.....

 The kitchen just humming along  (mostly because I'm not in it  : ) ) 

 So Harold.  How were the rolls?  We made sure they were ready on time for you.......hey....are you sticking out your tongue at me????

Our breakfast wouldn't be the same without Sandy, Cheryl and Simon and Miranda there....and hey,  how did you get in the picture Ella?  It seems that Cheryl loved the chocolate, but Sandy was a bit ambivalent......what's with THAT!!!! : ) 

 More happy stomachs.  

 Here's James and Annette with their family.  James had some cousins? visiting and they came out for breakfast as well.  They have 12 children.....wow....I think 8 of them were at our breakfast.  

Here's a wide angle shot of the fellowship hall teaming with people.  Everyone enjoying themselves.  We served about 110 people this morning.  Seems every year, even though we set up two different shifts, they all come at once..... 

 The kitchen is getting a bit messy if you ask me.....

 Our youth leaders taking a break and enjoying the food.  Jackie liked it so much, she stuck around and helped us out.  Thanks Jackie.  

 Ben likes the fruit of his labour.  

 Ok, I'll admit it, the primary goal of this event is to make some $$$.  However, there are other great spin offs when fundraisers happen in youth ministry, like; a) more community building within the youth group, b) teachable moments when it comes to working hard for the money you earn, c) community building for the church itself.   Here you can see that community building is alive and well.  Eric and Brenda visited with pretty much everyone during the 3 hours of their stay for breakfast.....[ok, maybe I exaggerated a bit....it was 2.5 hours...  : ) ]

 Chris is enjoying his breakfast.  Michael must have dish pan hands, and Jacob looks like he's in a daze.....not enough sleep last night, eh Jacob?

 The sausages were very good this year.  Here's Jonah swallowing one whole....no really......well, maybe?

Our last slide with John and Ben and Hannah...no wait, that's Tobie.....how'd she get in the picture.  

That brings us to the end of our breakfast time.  Everyone really enjoyed the morning.  Thanks John for all your hard work again.  Thanks CIA for your hard work as well.  Thanks to all those who came out and helped make this event a success.  

We were able to raise just under $1,800 profit due to your generosity.  Much of that will go to our CIA members to help them cover the cost of YP events.  A portion will also be going to OIM's youth art program.  A wonderful ministry targeting homeless youth in Ottawa.  

I bid you adieu with the knowledge that John is already thinking about new creations for next year.  If you didn't get the chance to come out, consider 2012.  It promises to be another amazing morning.......!!!!!!   : )