13.1 Miles Behind Me

October 30, 2012 — 1 Comment

Soaring Wings Half Marathon I did it. I finished the 13.1 miles and the 40-Day Challenge. Here’s how the day went:

The Start:

As I randomly stepped into line with over 1600 people to start the race, I realized I was standing next to two volunteers from our preteen ministry! The beginning of the race was by far the most nerve-wracking, so it was so calming to see friends and be encouraged.

Mile 3:

I passed under a bridge that was a later part of the course. As I was suffering through Mile 3, I looked up and saw the lead group breezing by on Mile 6! It was a very humbling experience.

Mile 5:

A 12-year old boy caught up to me and asked what distance we’d run so far. I told him that we were just past Mile 5, and then he said to me, “Hmm, I thought we had run a lot further than that.” Then, he took off ahead of me with little effort. Again, a very humbling experience.

Mile 8:

I passed a spectator who was holding a sign that read, “Keep Going! The end isn’t even close! It’s still far, far away” The reality of that statement really did make me laugh and it eased the pain just a little.

Mile 11:

I realized that I was actually going to finish. Not only that, but I was ahead of the 2 hour 15 minute pace group, so I was way ahead of my predicted time. I started to work that my family wouldn’t make it to the finish line by the time I crossed it.

Mile 12:

I decided that I was going to sprint to the finish line. I looked at the runners ahead of me and picked out an “enemy.” I determined that I was going to beat that person, and I pushed the last half-mile to do so. I was really pleased when I crossed the line a split second ahead of the 56 & 59-year old ladies. Take that!

Soaring Wings Half Marathon

The whole idea was about challenging myself and learning from the experience. I finished the race in 2 hours 12 minutes 28 seconds. It was a great experience that has really spurred me to take care of myself physically.

After the race, I told my wife, “Now, the goal is to not stop. I need to keep running and get better so that the next time is easier.” That statement is so true for all areas of life.

I wrote last week about looking for my next challenge. God has already starting stirring something inside of me and I can’t wait to share more about that challenge.

Running Feet

Thirty-eight days ago, I began a 40-day challenge. You can read more about the crazy idea here.

I’m two days away from the 13.1-mile adventure. I have a ton of questions running (pun intended) through my head.

Am I ready?
Will I finish?
If so, will it be a respectable time?
Am I going to die?
Would any anyone come scrap me off the road if I did?

I’m sure the questions and nerves will only grow over the next 48 hours. As my mind races toward to finish line (pun intended) of the 40-day challenge, I have tried to think about what this process taught me.

Here are 4 things that I learned on the 40-day challenge:

#1—I need more discipline.

I have some bad habits. I eat too much, and most of it is junk. My sleep schedule is way out of whack. I procrastinate on important projects and then panic when they have to be done at the last minute. This totally throws me off schedule and into bigger trouble. These issues were present before, but the 40-day challenge really exposed the problem. I’m not sure how I’m going to solve it, but I really need to do something.

#2—I need more excitement.

I am an adrenaline junkie. I love to take on big tasks just so I can feel the pressure and excitement. The nervous energy that I’m feeling right now is actually something I crave. I have a passion to feel like I’m teetering on the edge of failure or something great. The 40-Day Challenge has reminded me that I need to take risks and dream big ideas in other areas so that I can experience the same excitement and possibly accomplish great things.

#3—I need more support.

The last 38 days have been pretty brutal, especially on the few long runs I’ve made. The worst part about the training was doing it alone. I realized several times in the process that the training would be much easier and much more enjoyable if I was doing it with a partner or team. This easily translates into other areas of my life. I need to partner with others in ministry to make the task easier and more enjoyable.

(My wife has been a great support, even though she thinks I might die mid-way through the race. I love you, honey!)

#4—I need more challenges.

The 40-Day Challenge has taught me a lot about myself. It has helped me to see what I am capable and incapable of doing. The challenge may be a half marathon, but the training and lessons are much more about life than running. As I come to the end of the challenge, I’m really excited to think about what could be the next challenge. Will it be another physical challenge? Will it be a mental or spiritual challenge? I want to continue to push myself in these areas so that I can be a better ministry leader, better husband, and better disciple of Jesus Christ.

I can wait to post about the race experience–that is if I make it out alive! I will have 13.1 miles to think about what I’m doing, so I’m sure I’ll have something to say about it. If you would like to support the awesome cause of the race, Soaring Wings Ranch, please do so at the link below.

Click Here to Donate

 

BombBomb Logo Sta

We’ve started using a new company to help with our communication to parents of preteens. It is so stinkin’ cool that I wanted to share it!

BombBomb.com is an email marketing platform that allows you to juice up your emails with the power of video. You can embed HD video, linked documents, text, etc. into the email template. BombBomb will optimize your video for all platforms: desktop, mobile, tablet, etc. This means your video looks its best on whatever device the recipient uses to view it.

Here is the best part for those of us in ministry:

1) It integrates with several church database systems, including Church Community Builder (CCB), FellowshipOne, AccesACS, and ICON systems.

We were sending out parent emails to almost 400 unique addresses that were already saved in Fellowship One. I did not want to have to enter each of those contacts again, and I didn’t have to with BombBomb. They have a really simple integration that allows you to sync your database groups with the email template. It literally took me 2 minutes to transfer the 400 contacts!

2) BombBomb gives you tracking analytics on EVERYTHING!

Here is a snapshot of the Analytics page:

Screen Shot 2012 10 23 at 10.48.32 AM

When you send a traditional email, it’s really hard to know if it’s opened or if the attached documents are ever downloaded. With BombBomb, you can see all of that information. They tell you how many emails were delivered vs. bounced to spam. They tell you how many emails were opened, how many clicks were made on each specific link, how many plays of the embedded video, and how many downloads of attached documents.

In ministry, it’s really hard to gauge success and failures. This data really has helped us to see what’s working and what is not. One thing we quickly realized was that our parents were very likely to watch the video (60%), but few downloaded to attached document (7%). If we want to communicate important info, we now know that it needs to be in the video!

If you’re looking for creative ways to communicate with volunteers or parents, you should definitely check out BombBomb.com. They will create custom email templates for your ministry, and their monthly service fee starts at only $29/month.

Here is how we used BombBomb to communicate our series content with our parents:
(Thanks to Jim Kast-Keat for the “Fifty6 in :56” idea!)

Fifty6 in :56

preteen text

Next time you’re sitting in a public place, count the number of people who are using their phones to text. I bet you lose count!

Texting is quickly becoming the #1 form of communication. Good or bad (that’s a topic for another day), it is the truth. This is especially true among preteens. In early 2008, Pew Research Center found that 51% of 12-year olds had cell phones. I can only imagine that this number has increased in the last 4 years.

According to research cited by Common Sense Media, texting is the #2 use for all cell phones behind checking the time! The research also shows that preteens (age 9 to 12) send and average of 1,146 texts per month. That’s more than 37 texts per day!

Texting is changing the way preteens communicate with one another. Should it change the way we communicate with preteens?

Here’s the question that I’ve been mulling over for the last few weeks:

Can text messaging be used constructively in preteen ministry?

I’m interested in hearing from those that have used text messaging in student ministry and/or preteen ministry. I have some concerns about using text messages with 9 to 12 year olds, but I can see value in being able to communicate things like weekly devotions, small group questions, updates about service projects or events, etc.

What do you think? Is text messaging beneficial to preteen ministry or is it a slippery slope that should be avoided?