Monday, May 28, 2012

Do ALL the jobs!

So, I am kind of known around here as the guy who works all the jobs. People just know and understand that I have a lot of different jobs. I wear a lot of different hats. I have my foot in a lot of pools. You know what I mean.

Poor students tend to take what we can get. And poor, anglophone students who don't even have a CV/resume really can't afford to be picky. And sometimes, a rare few of us get super lucky, and people just offer us tons of jobs all the time! You can blame good contacts, charming personality, determination, but I really think it's just God watching out of me!

So, with all these jobs and the slight inconsistency that comes from them, people are regularly asking me, "Tom, what jobs are you working these days?"

A fun question because people are usually surprised when I tell them I'm sort of working five jobs at once. So, I thought, might be fun to write about that tonight!

1. Obviously, the job that I take the most seriously, that most-closely defines me and whatnot, is youth ministry. I am currently employed by Emmaus Anglican Church as Youth Co-Coordinator. This job is super fantastic and brings me so much joy. It's such a blessing getting to work with such amazing kids.

2. Churches seem to like to hire me- our sister Church, St Stephen's Anglican Church, which is conveniently where we host our Youth Group on Friday nights, hired me in November of last year as part-time cleaning staff!

3. Speaking of cleaning jobs, I work verrrry part time for a carpet-cleaning company called Braxon! This job is pretty irregular as I only get hours when there are jobs that work with the rest of my schedule. So a lot of weeks I don't get any, but sometimes I get tons.

4. And while we're talking about inconsistency and minimalistic hours, I am also a private tutor!

5. Last, but definitely not least, I just recently started a job at Hazelaid, a small Montreal-based company that's growing! We sell hazelwood and amber jewelry, as well as other natural medicinal products. Definitely check them out! :)

So that's that! A decent log of my current employment status, haha. I think it's a lot of fun having such a diverse background of job experience, and for the time being, it's a great way to make a living! Consistency would be nice, but I'm thankful that God continues to faithfully provide for me in His own interesting ways! :)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

5 Things I Love About My Youth Leadership Team

Behind every youth pastor, there's a team of awesome volunteers (and sometimes co-coordinators!) who help make things even more amazing! Tonight's new post is a little reflection about the qualities I am thankful for in my youth ministry team! Consider it a bit of a shout-out, but also think of this post as a list of things I think are super important to have as a part of any successful youth ministry team!

My amazing 2011-2012 Emmaus Youth Group leadership team! (From left to right) Laura Glendenning, myself, Angela Henderson, Alicia Fortier, Simon Pelletier, Laura Griffin. Gaby Szabo in absentia. Photo courtesy of Jillian Agustin

I have been so blessed this year with an amazingly wonderful team! I get the infinite pleasure of working alongside some of the lovely people ever, who are all my best friends! We have really connected and work really well together, and everyone is super dedicated to our ministry. Couldn't do it without you guys!

That brings me to #1! A youth ministry team should be tight! If there's no chemistry between the leaders, not only will things flow less smoothly, but the teens will really be able to tell and there will be a disconnect. If the leaders don't love eachother, how can they really encourage the teens to love one another and effectively build community with them?

When our leaders get together, we have tons of amazing conversations, lots of ridiculous rabbit trails and things always diverge into an onslaught of raucous laughter. At the same time, when things get serious, we are able to have a really great discussion and, although we can get a little ridiculous and goofy at times, we always manage to say everything that needs to be said. And that's #2 for me! A leadership team needs to be able to communicate with eachother about serious things and come to helpful conclusions but also be able to enjoy eachother's company and laugh together.

#3- the better the individual leaders' relationships with God are, the greater overall quality during those discussions and in the teachings each week. If you have a team of leaders who at least pursue deeper relationships with God, regardless of where everyone is at, there is an attitude of commitment to that and that really shows.

On the topic of attitude, #4! Youth leaders should be committed and have a good attitude about that! They should *want* to come in on Friday nights. If your volunteers feel like they're being forced to show up to meetings, they clearly aren't volunteering and shouldn't bother coming. We don't want lukewarm people in ministry, we want people who are passionate and excited about doing God's work and being a part of the team!

And that's #5- a team should be just that- a team! I can't have volunteers on my team who are insubordinate and argue with myself and Angela. If we're completely off base with something, it's definitely respectable to call us out on that. It's a different story, however, when a volunteer feels the need to take charge of the lesson and lead it in a completely inappropriate direction, and won't listen when we ask them to back down. We have had issues with this kind of thing in the past, but I am thankful that our current team are all really lovely and able to feel like part of the team without overstepping boundaries.

My team has been so incredibly faithful, and it's really cool watching them all grow together! It's been such a blessing working with a group so dedicated and amazing, and I look forward to many Friday nights to come with my fantastic youth ministry team.

Monday, May 14, 2012

... And We're Back!

So at the beginning of this month, I wrote a post about my new living situation, and how excited I was to be living in community with a few of the guys from Emmaus. It was a pretty wild week adjusting to that, but right when I did start to feel at home in the Point-St-Charles apartment, I felt God calling me back to my parents' house. So I popped in for a couple of nights over the weekend, which was convenient anyways because their house is closer to the church, and while I was there, I prayed about my whole situation.

I prayed that God would give me some direction about my living situation, and, long story short, I really clearly felt him telling me to stay at my parents' house! This was kind of distressing because I had just settled in, but it was really clear to me that I needed to come home and work on my relationship with my parents before trying to move out again.

So I'm back, living in NDG with them, which I hope will be exciting and good for my relationship with them.

Monday Morning Mentions!

Hey everyone,

I'll (hopefully) find time to write a little more in terms of actual content later today, but for the time being, I thought I'd do another shout-out post!

A little while ago, Angela Henderson, the co-coordinator of Emmaus Youth Group, started up a blog where she writes about the things that are on her heart and on her mind- and you can find a link to that blog right here!

Ange has been with our group for about two years now, and makes an amazing addition to our team!

Also, she's a great cook! Here's her serving up her awesome homemade chili at last year's Winter Retreat! (What is up with my moustache.. that was a bad idea...)

The next shout-out is for "Lamb", who, if you have ever attended Crosstalk Ministries Day Camps here in Montreal, needs no introduction. For those of you who haven't, go check out this blog!

And last, you should follow Simon Pelletier, one of the other leaders from Emmaus Youth Group, on Twitter @hipster_moose! At the time of my writing this post he hasn't actually tweeted anything yet (shame shame) but he assures me he will eventually!

Aaaand that's all for now, because I am going to watch a bit of TV then head out for lunch with an old friend.


Wednesday, May 09, 2012

More Dawson Videos

Hey everyone,

Dorry for the lack of post yesterday, things have been busy! Tonight I have a special treat, a few links to some videos from a group vocal performance I took part in last semester at Dawson College!

"For Emma" - Bon Iver

"Firework" - Katy Perry

"Sex on Fire" - Kings of Leon

Thursday, May 03, 2012


So I've been living in the my new apartment for a couple of days now, and I am quickly realizing that this is going to be an incredibly different experience from what I imagined and expected.

When I moved in, I did so expecting two things:

The first was that I would feel more independent and get a taste of how different life is when you have to start paying for things and doing your own cooking and cleaning and such.

The second was that, because I'd be living in intentional Christian community, I would spend heaps of time talking and praying with my roommates and doing lots of cool stuff with them.

So far, this has not really been the case.

Half of the other people who are supposed to be living here right now are away for a week at MarkEast, a weeklong intensive study of the gospel of Mark, out in New Brunswick or Nova Scotia or something (maritime provinces, am I right?) Because of this, things have been fairly quiet here the last couple of days. I am not sure if I like quiet particularly much. There's been fairly minimal activity going on since they left, with the few of us who are leftover mostly out of the house and doing work, so it's felt a little lonely. I know this will change when everyone gets back, and I actually just had a really lovely conversation with one of the guys I live with, but it was pretty discouraging this morning when I slept through morning prayer and woke up to an empty house.

I guess all this being said I would really appreciate prayer as I continue to get used to things here! Aaand I will try to post again very soon!

Father, give me strength to adjust to my new situation and help me feel at home even in the quietest moments. Help me to not take those moments for granted, but rather use them to spend time with You.