MZS Spring Road Trip to the Ark

This will be our Spring experience that is normally our DiscipleNow/ Lift/ Breakthrough weekend.  MZS will travel to KY on Friday March 12 (a student/ teacher holiday with GCPS) and arrive at the Ark around dinner time for a unique and exclusive experience where our group will have the whole ark to ourselves for the entire night.  We will also be allowed to sleep over night on the ark as well.  Students will need money for three meals on the road and for spending on whatever gifts and souvenirs they want. Additional information with packing list will be sent out after registration is completed.

The Ark Encounter features a full-size Noah’s Ark, built according to the dimensions given in the Bible. Spanning 510 feet long, 85 feet wide, and 51 feet high, this modern engineering marvel amazes visitors young and old.

We will meet at the church at 9am on Friday, March 12th, and approximate return time will be 8pm on Saturday evening the 13th.

You can register your student here.

Going back to School

By Kim Seldomridge

Copyright ©2020 Center for Parent/Youth Understanding | |

Added to the uncertainty is the risk that school will start only to be closed again because cases in your area have spike or a number of COVID19 cases have been identified within your school district.

COVID19 has had a devastating impact on our lives. As of today over 640,000 people worldwide have lost their lives to the disease. Some say this number is too high and others say it is way too low. Christians seem divided over the proper response to the virus. Some believe the cure has been worse than the disease. Certainly much anxiety and emotional trauma have resulted from this virus and the response to it. A government report shows nearly ten million people lost their jobs in April after a record 14.6 million were thrown out of work in March underscoring the widespread devastation to the U.S. labor market from the coronavirus. Some people think we are opening the economy too soon while others think we should have never shut it down.

Regardless of what you think there is great angst among parents about the opening of school in the fall. I talked to a parent yesterday who was in tears. “Is my six year old son going to be traumatized by wearing a mask? Both my husband and I work. What are we going to do for childcare if schools go to a hybrid plan? How is my child going to learn if they do online learning?”

This article is an attempt to give you the latest information on what is going on with the schools and options available to parents. By no means is an opinion rendered as to whether public school, private school, charter schools or cyber schools is a better system. Parents should simply be informed to options and possibilities.

I have spent over 35 years in education and have never seen school administrators and school boards so vexed and uncertain as to what direction to take. They have never traveled this path. The guidance coming out of most states, including Pennsylvania where I live, is either impossible to follow or too vague to be any help. Many schools are waiting until August to approve their plans which gives parents very little time to react. The first thing a parent should do is stay tuned to their school district’s website. Some plans are up but many are drafts. Consider going to a school board meeting or contacting a school board member or administrator and voicing any concerns you might have.

At this point not much is certain. It is highly likely there will be school in the fall despite the U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams saying Tuesday that, despite pressure from the federal government, the country must lower the transmission rate of COVID19 in order to reopen schools. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) made headlines recently

over its recommendations that students be “physically present in school” as much as safely possible as children’s safety is naturally the highest priority. Teachers’ unions in Wisconsin’s five largest school districts have urged Gov. Tony Evers to keep schools closed at the start of the year amid the coronavirus pandemic. Despite all the political hype most schools will open in the fall. Some schools are going with school as normal (five days a week for all grades). Some are going with hybrid plans where students in certain grades will go to school two days a week and then have online learning two or three days a week. Some schools are doing total online school.

It’s not too early to start thinking of childcare options beyond what you normally do. Some babysitters might cancel on you because they are afraid of getting COVID19. Are there family members you can ask? Are there members in your church community who might be available? Can you organize something within your church? Can you organize something in your neighborhood with other parents? Is a neighborhood co-op feasible? Are there online babysitting services available? You might choose to place an ad on Facebook or Next Door Neighbor. The important thing is to start looking now and line up some options.

So what will things look like in the fall if students go back to regular school? There will be a higher expectation that parents make sure their child is well before sending him to school. Anticipate temperature checks every day. School buses will likely be less crowded as schools expect an increase in the number parents who choose to drive their children to school. Bus routes will be staggered and some routes will be added where possible. In Pennsylvania (as of today) everyone on the bus will be required to wear masks including the driver. Most drivers will have extra masks in case a student forgets theirs. Students with medical conditions will not have to wear masks. Most schools will be enforcing mask wearing through the normal disciplinary process. This in itself will be a challenge because a recent survey done by a local school district asked parents about wearing a mask on the school bus. Twenty five percent of the parents said their child would not ride the bus if masks were required and 25% of the parents said they would not let their child ride the bus UNLESS masks were required on the bus!

Staff and students will have to wear masks in school unless they can maintain six feet apart. Most schools don’t have enough room to keep desks six feet apart so some students might have to wear their masks most of the day. Due to the recent order by the PA Health Department for face coverings this order applies to all students, staff and visitors age two and older while in school entities, including public K-12 schools, brick and mortar and cyber charter schools, private and parochial schools, career and technical centers (CTCs), and intermediate units (IUs) if six feet of distance cannot be maintained. This also means group activities will be severely limited. Most students will stay in their class most of the day and the teacher will move from class to class. Obviously this is not possible with some classes such as biology, chemistry and the technical classes. Many students will be eating their lunch in class while others may be eating in larger spaces such as the gymnasium. Halls might be one way and students will be expected to wear masks in the hallways. If weather permits, consideration could be given to having classes outside. Water fountains are being replaced by automatic bottle filling stations. All non-essential travel will be eliminated which means no field trips. Schools will limit large gatherings, events, and extracurricular activities to those that can maintain social distancing.

Added to the uncertainty is the risk that school will start only to be closed again because cases in your area have spiked or a number of COVID19 cases have been identified within your school district.

Another big question concerns fall sports. At the college level the Big Ten and Pac-12 have limited their teams to only league play. At lower collegiate divisions some have canceled all fall competition while others are planning to proceed as scheduled. On the scholastic level fall sports are still a question mark. A final decision is not likely to be made until mid-August. Even though most state sport regulatory bodies may make a recommendation for fall sports it will be up to the individual

Some schools are going with school as normal. Some are going with hybrid plans where students in certain grades will go to school two days a week and then have online learning two or three days a week. Some schools are doing total online school.

schools to decide their level of participation. There is the possibility that fall sports will be postponed until the spring. Some schools have already cancelled summer practice.

So what are your options and what do you need to consider? Private school or charter school are possibilities. However many of the health and safety
guidelines required by states apply to them as well. Generally charter schools and private schools have more flexibility because they are smaller and they don’t have some of the legal restrictions that public schools have as to providing an equal education. The Constitution requires that all children be given equal educational opportunity no matter what. That means if public school districts decide to do online learning they must be sure that every student be provided a computer and have access to the internet. Private schools have a little bit more flexibility.

What about cyber-school? This option generally only works when one parent can stay home with their children to make sure they are doing the work they should be doing and helping them with assignments. If you are interested in cyber-school, Google cyber-schools in your state and several options will come up. Twenty four states provide free cyber-school education. Most of them are high quality programs that provide a diploma when your student graduates.

Home school options are widely available but seldom free. Generally there is a cost to buy curriculum and parents are expected to be closely involved in the process. It is also advisable with either cyber-school or home school that you get your child involved with a co-op to allow interaction with other students. Many states allow your child to participate in extra-curricular activities that are provided by the public school.

Whatever option you choose the most important thing is to communicate to your child that they are going to be all right and to encourage them to learn no matter how the environment they are learning in is different. Growth- minded parents coach and support their children so they can develop and mature. A parent’s response to their child is a key motivator in whether or not children will participate in the risks of learning new skills, acquiring new knowledge, and applying strategies in their life. Parents can ask questions like: What part of this process has taught you the most? What is this struggle teaching you? You can make positive feedback comments such as: I am proud of you for persevering through this. I recognize the tremendous work that went into this. Thank you. I know that you are feeling discouraged lately. These are some strategies you can try that I think will make a big difference. Scientists have been able to show just how the brain grows and gets stronger when you learn. So it is important that your child realizes the importance of learning no matter what it looks like.

Last and just as important is to remind your child of the biblical truths that God loves them and is watching over them. Remind them of passages like Philippians 4: 6 – 7 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your MINDS in Christ Jesus.” After you remind your child, remind yourself.

by Kim Seldomridge

Kim is a Board Member and Treasurer for the Center for Parent/Youth Understanding. He worked as a school adminstrator for over 35 years.

Copyright ©2020 Center for Parent/Youth Understanding | |

Phone: (717) 361-8429 email:

For more information on today’s youth culture, visit the website of the Center for Parent/Youth Understanding at

CPYU grants permission for this article to be copied in its entirety, provided the copies are distributed free of charge and the copies indicate the source as the Center for Parent/Youth Understanding.

Plan B for summer camp

Ok so CrossRoads camp was canceled because of COVID 19… time for a backup plan!!  Yes we have one!  We have secured a place in Sparta GA called Lundy Creek Lodge.  It has room for all of us, a pond, a pool, and most importantly it will be a trip that we can look forward to and where we can hang out and spend some time together! It will be the same week as we’re scheduled to go to camp and if you already paid the deposit you can transfer it to this trip.

You can view the schedule here: Schedule Plan B Summer Retreat

When: July 13th-16th, 2020 (Monday – Thursday)

Cost: $209/ person

Where: Lundy Creek Lodge, White Plains GA

Lundy Creek Lodge Features:

  • 2,000 acres
  • a working grist mill and glistening ponds
  • 17 Bedrooms (24 beds total)
  • 16 Bathrooms (plus 2 half baths)
  • Kitchen
  • Pool (bring your own towel)
  • Volley ball
  • Pavilion

MZS Summer Kick Off Party 2020

MZS will be gathering for our summer kick off party on Wendesday, May 27th, at 6:30pm on the ball field at Mount Zion.  This will be our first time back together since March 11 and we are excited to see everyone again!  The night will include a cookout with burgers and dogs, games, music, and we will enjoy our time together.

Regarding the threat of corona virus and community spread:  Masks will not be necessary, but they will be available, we will have gloves/hand sanitizer out, and we will ask everyone to practice social distancing.  With that being said, if your student has been exposed to someone with COVID symptoms, or has exhibited symptoms themselves, or if you are not comfortable with your student participating in group activities just yet, please keep them at home.  Additionally if your student has regular exposure to an older family member or anyone that is vulnerable to COVID 19 it may be best that they do not participate in large group activates. We are trying to balance the desire of everyone to see each other again with the safety measures the pandemic requires.


Should weather prevent us from meeting outside we will not meet and reschedule this event for next week.

Family Table Time Resources

Opera The Center For Parent Youth Understanding ( has produced this series to help equip you to disciple your teenagers as you are spending more time at home with your teenagers due to the COVID 19 pandemic.  Use these to spur meaningful conversation and disciple your teenagers.

week 1








week 2








week 3











MZS Online meeting during the Corona Virus Crisis

During the current situation of the Corona virus and in compliance with civil authorities’ request for social distancing, MZS will meet online for Sunday LifeGroups and Wednesday small groups until in person group gatherings can resume.

Groups will meet on the Zoom meetings platform unless otherwise posted.  LifeGroups will meet Sunday mornings after the 9:30am livestream of Mount Zion’s worship service.  Wednesday night small groups will meet after the MZS 6:30pm livestream.  Both livestreams can be seen on the church YouTube channel, “MZ Online”.

Instructions for accessing meetings on Zoom:

  • On  computer: Go to
  • On device: Download the Zoom app
  • Click “Join meeting”
  • Enter meeting code (This 9 or 10 digit code will be texted and or emailed to you and your students.  You can also reach out to MZS leaders for this information.)
  • Once you enter the meeting code you will need to give Zoom access to your device’s camera and microphone.

Zoom is free and requires no account.

It seems Covid-19 has up-ended and disturbed all aspects of our lives, it is my goal to keep contact with your students as regularly as possible.  I really believe it is important that we try to maintain our time together and keep connecting with students as well as stay on track as much as possible.





Teen Anxiety

Research is all over the place saying that anxiety and stress are at all time highs for teenagers.  It’s not surprising with the pressure to perform in all aspects of their lives.  Here’s and older article for Psychology Today that I came across that lists 10 specific contributors to the teen anxiety phenomenon.

If your student is struggling with anxiety and stress.  Please let me know if you need a reference for a counselor or how I can help.



How to select an internet monitoring service


Written by Tony Bianco

Teens and kids today are spending more and more time online through mobile devices.

Simply seeing our kids’ actions and behavior in the physical world is no longer enough to know how they are acting or who they are with since the rise of social media and these digital devices.

So, what is a parent to do?

Well, according to a 2016 PEW Research report, 61% of parents check their kids’ web history, 60% monitor social media, and 48% check their kids’ text and phone calls.

So, it seems the question is not, “should I monitor my kids?” but “how do I monitor my kids?”

There are a few things to consider when you are looking at these types of services.

One, how much control are you wanting?

Some services allow you to do very little or a variety of features.

If you have a younger child, you may only be looking for internet protection, but with older students, you may also be looking to monitor messages and social media.

The second thing to consider is, do you want your child knowing that you are monitoring them?

Some parents are open and honest when it comes to monitoring. Other parents want to monitor in the shadows anonymously. There are services for each type of parent which we will discuss below. However, I believe that being honest with your student about your intentions is one way to generate buy-in and understanding when it comes to kids and their technology.

There is already a disconnect between parents and their kids when it comes to the things with screens but being honest is a way to bridge this gap and build trust.

The third thing to consider when selecting a monitoring service is the ease of use.

If you purchase a great software but do not know how to use it, then it does you no good. The good news is that many of these services offer a multi-day free trial, so you can try them out before you fully commit.

The last thing to think through is will this service only work on mobile devices like phones and tablets or will they also work on computers or even smart appliances like your T.V.

Knowing the range of your service or services is important before committing fully to any of them.

Now that we have discussed a few things to look for, here are a few suggestions based on what you might be looking for.

Below we will identify 8 different monitoring options and look at how they measure up to each of these pieces of criteria.

Again, the criteria will be:

  1. How much control do you want?
    2. Do you want your kid to know you are monitoring?
    3. Ease of use.
    4. Will this work on all technology or just mobile devices?


  • Control: 4/5 Stars
  • Do They Know: YES
  • Ease of Use: 3/5 Stars
  • All technology or just mobile: ALL


  • com
  • Internet Filter
  • Accountability Report Available
  • $11.99/month (personal) $15.99/month (family)


  • Control: 5/5 Stars
  • Do They Know: YES
  • Ease of Use: 4/5 Stars
  • All technology or just mobile: ALL


  • com
  • Set Time Limits
  • Internet Filter
  • Block or Allow Apps
  • Set Log-Off Times and/or Bed Times
  • See History
  • Pause Internet
  • Give Rewards
  • $99 for the unit (no monthly fee) $5/month to enable features off home WiFi


  • Control: 4/5 Stars
  • Do They Know: YES
  • Ease of Use: 4/5 Stars
  • All technology or just mobile: ALL


  • com
  • Internet Filter
  • Activity Reports
  • Set Time Limits
  • Block or Allow Games & Apps
  • Monitor Social Media
  • Monitor Calls (Android only)
  • Location Tracking
  • $4.58/month (5 devices) $8.08/month (10 devices) $11.50/month (15 devices)


  • Control: 2/5 Stars
  • Do They Know: YES
  • Ease of Use: 3/5 Stars
  • All technology or just mobile: MOBILE


  • com
  • View Web History
  • View Text Messages
  • View Calls & Contacts
  • Location Tracking
  • See messages sent & received from WhatsApp & Kik Messenger


  • Control: 4/5 Stars
  • Do They Know: Yes
  • Ease of Use: 3/5 Stars
  • All technology or just mobile: MOBILE


  • com
  • Monitor Social Media (Snapchat, Kik, etc.)
  • Alerts for Inappropriate Words & Images
  • Monitor Mobile Apps
  • View Web History
  • Location Tracking
  • View Installed Apps
  • View Calls & Contacts


  • Control: 4/5 Stars
  • Do They Know: Yes
  • Ease of Use: 3/5 Stars
  • All technology or just mobile: ALL


  • com
  • Internet Filter
  • Accountability Reports
  • $5.83/month (single user) $8.33/month (family use)


  • Control: 4/5 Stars
  • Do They Know: YES
  • Ease of Use: 3/5 Stars
  • All technology or just mobile: MOBILE


  • com
  • App Usage
  • Daily Reports
  • Web & Search History
  • Time Limits
  • Block Apps & Games
  • Pause
  • Schedules
  • Bedtime App Blocker
  • FREE (limited features & 1 device per child) $4.99/month (all features)


  • Control: 4/5 Stars
  • Do They Know: YES
  • Ease of Use: 5/5 Stars
  • All technology or just mobile: MOBILE


  • iOS 12
  • App Limits
  • Daily & Weekly Reports
  • Internet Filter
  • Web & Search History
  • App Store Restrictions
  • Tracks “Pickups” & Notifications
  • FREE with iOS 12 compatible device

As you can see, there are a variety of options that parents have at their fingertips, and these are only a few. As it was stated earlier, find something that you feel comfortable using and move forward with it. I would also recommend you stick with it for at least a month, or the trial period. This will give you a more “real life” look and feel to the application you choose.

It is a growing world out there, and the Internet is only getting bigger. Schools are incorporating screens more and more, and “being connected” is a desire of the next generation.

As parents, the best thing that we can do is to prepare and parent our kids through this digital world. Face to face conversations are still needed, but the assistance of a service like these are a great resource in your parenting tool belt!

Written by Tony Blanco

TONY BIANCO has been in Student Ministry for 10+ years with his wife Diamend with whom they have two amazing kids. He is a former Radio DJ, Technology Reviewer, GameStop Manager, Apple Store Expert, and the author of The Family Technology Plan.


How teens hide porn on their phones

If you’re worried your teen is viewing porn on their phones you should be because two of the mot popular social media apps, Instagram and Snapchat, can be gateways to pornography. Today’s teens don’t need to go looking for porn because they have a porn app on their phone. Thanks to the internet and social media, pornography is out to find them whether they want to see it or not.

Heres an older article to help you monitor your teens cellphone use:

Anti Porn: How Porn Hides on Popular Teen Apps

Top 10 Ways to Tame the Cell Phone Beast


Here are the Top 10 Tips that Real Life Parents use to stop cell phone fights before they begin.

10. Use the Parental Controls.

All the Major Cell Phone Carriers have some sort of Parental Controls. There are some pretty great features that help parents. Some carriers let you set the hours your teenager can use their phone and others allow you to track their whereabouts through GPS. You might pay an extra fee for these services, but parents tell us that it is well worth it.

9. Have Your Teenager Take a Picture of Their Destination

Instead of just having them call you when they arrive at their destination, have them send a picture which gives visual evidence that they are where they are supposed to be. This gives them an amazing opportunity to earn your trust.

8. Don’t Give a SmartPhone Right Away

A lot of the parents we talk to gave their teenager an older phone to start with and let them have more features as they earned more trust. This sets your teenager up for success and avoids giving them too much too soon.

7. Learn the Texting Abbreviations

You are one Google Search away from being an expert in the language of text message abbreviations. It’s true that teenagers have their own language when they text, but the smart parent chooses to be- come fluent in that language so they can understand what their teenager is saying to them and others.

6. Use a Cell Phone Contract

Sit down with your teenager and work together to set guidelines for cell phone use. Write them down, sign the bottom of the paper, and hang it up in a public place in your home. This will give you a reference point to refer to in the future.

5. Shut Down Texting and Driving

Talk early and often with your teenager about Texting and Driving. It will be one of those subjects that they are tempted to ignore, but it is crucially important that they respect. By the way, if you text and drive in front of them you will fight an uphill battle convincing them not to pick up the habit.

4. Break the ICE
Make sure your teenager has a contact in their list titled ICE (In Case of Emergency) with your phone number listed. Emergency Responders are trained to check the phones they find for this contact.

3. Fight for Your Right to Read Texts

You might disagree with us and that is OK, but we believe that you should have the right to read your teenager’s text messages. The older they get the more right they have to privacy, but we believe they should earn that right over time. If you are watching their texts you have a chance to teach them how to act responsibly.

2. Plug In The Cell Phone By the Parent’s Bed at Night

This is a Parenting Ninja Secret. To keep their teenager from texting until 2 am in the morning, we know some really smart parents who have their teenager charge their cell phone in the Parent’s bedroom at night.

1. Teach Your Teenager Early That Their Phone is a Privilege not a Right

If you pay the bill then you are in control of whether or not your teenager gets to use the phone. When we asked parents for tips on taming the cell phone beast, this was by far the most popular. We hope it helps!