Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Mr. Intensity - Self Control

Here is a fun teaching tool that we made for our ME SERIES!  It was a big hit in our Jr. High Student Services.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Longevity In Ministry

Random thoughts that could help you stay in ministry:

Keep the main thing the main thing.
Remember to always make your family the first priority and ministry.

The church was there before you and it will be there after you.
The church universal will remain weather you are there or, the same can't be said for your family.

Get into God's Word.
God gave us His Word for our personal growth, strength and understanding of what we are called to do and how to live.  Don't just read the Bible to prep for messages, read the Bible to be more like Jesus.

Develop your leaders, not your ego.
Everyone likes to be loved, feel needed and wanted.  However, ministry is about equipping and training people to lead others to Christ.  Ministry has no place for egos, although there seems to be many of them out there.

Take time off.
Make sure you get away from the church building at least once a week.  There will always be more to do and never enough time (read point number two again).

Create a support group.
Gather people around you who will pray and support you, even when you make mistakes!

Reading the Bible and prayer are often neglected by pastors who struggle and are our most important tools.  Be in constant communication with God, this means listening as much as talking.

Look for mentors.
Find pastors and leaders who have been in "successful" ministries, buy them lunch and learn from their stories and experience.

Finally, ask other leaders what you should add to this list.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Right Answer

During the last 17 years of youth ministry I have had the privilege of attending and speaking at many different youth events, camps, retreats, conferences and training days.  My time at these events has always been refreshing and energizing to me.  I enjoy having the chance to talk to new, upcoming students and leaders.

Recently I was speaking at a conference and had a couple youth leaders say that all students really need is to have leaders in their life who are authentic followers of Jesus Christ.  I don't disagree with the statement, I just feel like there is more to it.  Just like there are different "stages" of a person's journey as a Christian, there are different needs for those different stages.  Some students need a friend; others need a leader while some need someone just to spend time with them.  All of these roles are different and usually only a small number of students are looking for authentic followers of Christ, at first.

Students are looking for more than adults who are authentic; they are looking for adults who actually want to spent time with them.  They want to have someone, anyone believe in them enough to invest in them as a person.  Students aren't looking for authentic followers of Jesus, they are looking for Jesus.  

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

What I Got When I Least Expected It

I recently went to the National Youth Workers Convention in Pittsburg, PA. The purpose of going was to allowing some of the youth staff to receive some youth ministry insight from leaders, authors and developers in youth ministry. This was NYWC number twelve for me and I enjoy attending with youth staff and friends so I can build on relationships with those who share the same call and passion for students, and during this trip I was encouraged to see the energy and involvement of those who attended with me, but for some reason I was not feeling the joy or excitement of being there that I had in the past. Recently God has been “moving” in my life and there is something going on inside of me that I can’t put my figure on. At the convention I began to see what a gift I have been given in where I serve and how God is using and blessing the ministry I am a small part of. Through conversations and sharing I saw many hurting youth workers who would give anything to be a part of what I daily take for granted. During one of the scheduled seminar times I decided to meet with a person who listens and prays for God’s direction and Will in the life and ministry of youth pastors. The time allotted was an hour, an entire hour. I hesitated to sign my name as this was something that I had never done and, did I mention it was an HOUR? I meet the person and was instantly comfortable with casual conversation but thinking this could never take an hour, twenty minutes max. As I began to share, I really felt the Holy Spirit begin to direct my words and I started to share from the part of me that I usually lock-down. I finally paused long enough for my prayer mentor to say, “We only have about five minutes left, so I would like to pray for you.” I was startled to think I had shared for more than fifty minutes of what and how God has been working in my life and the desire I have to love, serve and continually grow closer to Him. I recently went to the National Youth Workers Convention in Pittsburg, PA. The purpose of going was to allow some of the youth staff to receive some youth ministry insight from leaders, authors and developers in youth ministry… what I left with was a renewed sense of His call, but more importantly, a renewed sense of His unconditional, passionate, uncompromised, mind-blowing love for me.