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Hurricane Harvey and How We Can Help

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If you're like me, the reports that are coming out of Texas in the last few days have been overwhelming. Many of us have friends or family that live in Texas in the path of Hurricane Harvey, so the struggles and devastation that have come along with the storm have carried a very personal edge.

Many of you have asked what we can do to help. At this point, the best thing we can do is to make direct donations to an organization that we trust, World Renew.

Donate through World Renew

World Renew is the compassion and relief organization that is a part of the Christian Reformed Church denomination. They have representatives that are already on the ground in Texas, so they know exactly what needs to be done to help the most.

We will be contacting World Renew directly to see if there are other needs that we can partner with them to address, but the best thing to do right now is to make a financial contribution.

We've included the direct link below to the World Renew page that has been specifically set up for Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. Please make your donations there to keep things as simple as possible.

And, of course, we will all continue praying that God will comfort people and provide them with exactly what they need during this incredibly difficult time.

Donate through World Renew

Posted by Steve Finkill with
in Youth

Social Media- Amazing or Dangerous?

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The landscape of social interaction for students has been under constant change for the past several years. Because of technology and social media, peer to peer contact looks vastly different from when most of us were in middle school and high school. The advancement of social media comes with pros, cons, and reason for caution. Most importantly, kids' use of social media presents a unique opportunity for parents to have authentic conversation with their students.

First, the caution. Social media gives kids (and parents) access to compare their everyday lives to the highlight reels of the people they follow. This "in your face" comparison can create insecurity around our identity in Christ. Along with comparison, kids have easy access to cyber bullying (common on twitter and snapchat), sexual temptation (common on instagram/snapchat) and a general disconnection from authentic relationship. I want to highlight snapchat as a platform to talk to your kids about, because it is important for kids to understand the gravity of what they send to their peers. Pictures that they hope will disappear can be screen-shotted and circulated, causing significant relational damage. Snapchat also is used to show live pictures and videos of what students are doing, or what material things they have. This is significant because it can make other students feel left out (whether the snap was intended to leave kids out or unintentionally made them feel that way), or could cause students to feel like they need certain material things in order to "fit in."

Second, the opportunity. As parents, you have an incredible opportunity to talk to your students about social media. Often, students are a lot more comfortable hiding behind the screens of their phones and are willing to say things on social media platforms that they likely wouldn't say in most face to face interactions, You can encourage your students to be who they are, in face to face interactions as well as on their social media platforms. More so than that, you can have conversations affirming your students regarding their value as created sons and daughters of a king. Who they are in Christ is more than who they are on social media.

As a church community, we will continue to challenge students on the topic of social media, and how they relate to others. Ultimately, we want our students to know that their identity can be rooted in the God who created them, and doesn't need to rest on how many twitter followers, instagram likes, or snapchat streaks they have. Relationship with others can flow more freely when we know who God created us to be.

If you have any questions about specific social media platforms, or would like tips in talking to your students about social media, please email , Student Ministry Director or , Middle School Pastor or , Preteen Pastor.

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