Monday, December 14, 2009

Basic Student Ministry Tip 36 - Direction

Your commitment to God and the choices you make as a result of that commitment will determine your life and ministry direction.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Christmas Series

Great banner & Christmas series: The Reindeer's Back In My Front Yard? Now Santa's on the Roof?

The Element

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


I will be using this in our series, "The reindeer's back in my yard and now Santa's on the roof?"   

The Living Nativity « Videos « The Skit Guys

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Basic Student Ministry Tip 34 - Simple Manger

If we continue to present Jesus as big, flashy, and cool we might be in danger of overlooking the small, simple, dirty manger this season.

Monday, November 30, 2009

I'm Back

I just finished a two week break from... well, almost everything that didn't have to do with the ministry I am so fortunate to be a part of at in Orlando, FL.  I am now back and excited to be. 
The reason for the short sabbatical was to refuel, refresh and refocus.  The last six months of camps, consulting and joining the staff at Discovery with thElement Student Ministry I have been doing a great deal of "pouring" and not enough "filling" through reading and listening to teachings that continually develop and challenge me to grow in my relationship with Christ.  I began to fell empty and dry.  My hearts desire is that I would allow my heart and life to be filled with the things of God; those things that honor Him, please Him, point to Him... things that make Him famous!  

I love Luke 6:45 where it says that out of the overflow of my heart my mouth speaks.  I want to always "speak" love, truth, mercy, grace and all that God is, because I choose to fill myself with those things that are pleasing to God.

My prayer is that this blog encourages you, gives you a nugget here or there that will redirect you toward the purpose of Christ and not the purpose of people.  I pray that our passion would be deeper than our need for affirmation that we continue to run the race pressing on toward the prize set before us as Hebrews instructs instead of looking for the applause and recognition of men.  

Thank you to those of you who have continued to send me emails and phone messages to encourage me to continue posting.  I am praying for you, your family and ministry today!  

Living for Jesus & loving it!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Basic Student Ministry Tip 33 - Give

Many of us see a need and do nothing about it and when we do give it’s more superficial than sacrificial. Give of your time, energy, and strength. People, who really need you, need YOU, not your money. Financial giving is necessary and I believe in it whole-heartedly, but I don't believe we can measure financially the impact we can make on another person through the personal sacrifice of ourselves.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Something To Think About

"We are so accustomed to disguise ourselves to others that in the end we become disguised to ourselves." - Francois de La Rochefoucauld

Are you the same person in private that you are in public or do you wear a disguise?

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Just A Volunteer

"The words "Just" and "Volunteer" should NEVER be used in the same sentence. It's because you just volunteer that people get led to Christ every day, and that the people who wonder what God has to offer can find out. So I thank you for "just volunteering" when you don't have to, when an extra hour of sleep is what you really want, yet you drag yourself out of bed to volunteer, Thank you."  Trey, College Student

Monday, October 26, 2009

Basic Student Ministry Tip 32 - Rest

Weariness is worn as a badge of honor, busyness is touted as a sign of importance, and "I am needed 24-7" is a defense mechanism that produces pseudo significance. - D. Salter

I am still focusing on REST & REFUEL!  So many of you "preach" this, but few put it into practice. Spend time with family, friends and those people who energize you today.  Believe it or not, life and ministry will continue if you take a break... you're not THAT important, sorry.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Basic Student Ministry Tip 31 - Refuel

For those who care for the souls of others, you need to find time to refuel your soul. Leaders often discover they are running on low and are trying to grow in their relationship with God from the fumes instead of fuel.  If you rely on Sunday to recharge and refuel your spiritual tank, you might want to consider finding another way. Most pastors and church leaders are often pulled in many different directions on Sunday making it a time of intense work rather than refreshing worship. 
Take time to talk with your pastor or church leaders to gain wisdom and suggestions on how to make sure you have a time of worship. Daily refueling is necessary, so is having a time each week to worship with a group of people who simply love Jesus and desire to grow.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Top Pick for Music Of The Month

Filled with passionate songs birthed in the furnace of worship, prayer and intercession, Desperation Band's first studio album is a powerful experience calling the body of Christ to mercy and justice. Light Up The World is a fresh new sound of worship from the Desperation Movement through which thousands of students have taken the Desperation Vow to wholeheartedly follow God. In a special partnership with Heartwork Uganda, this album is dedicated to being a source of mission preparation and funding for the building of orphanages in Uganda.

Basic Student Ministry Tip 30

Encourage parents to become a part of the youth ministry.  By involving parents you:
  • Allow parents to see students in a positive, Christ-honoring atmosphere designed with their student in mind.
  • Give students an opportunity to see that their parents aren't "losers" and other people actually enjoy being around them.
  • Gain support for the ministry from people who have had their driver's license for more than 8 months.
  • Allow parents to see that their student isn't the only one "dressing that way."
  • Begin to open doors that allow students and parents to serve together.
  • Give unspoken but intentional support to the family unit.
  • Develop relationships and gain wisdom from people who spend everyday loving, caring and raising teens.  
Take the time and make the effort to get parents of students involved, it's worth it!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Something To Think About

"If you have group of twelve kids who don't understand your illustrations and one of them wants to kill you, you have a youth group just like Jesus."  - Mark Yaconelli

Friday, October 9, 2009

Basic Student Ministry Tip 29

Work on developing person-to-person relationships for the individuals sake. People don't want to feel like another customer or number, they want to know that they matter and are valuable. Take time for people!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Basic Student Ministry Tip 28

Show love!  Love students - all of them, love parents - all of them, love volunteer leaders - all of them, love your community - all of them, love the staff & board you serve with - all of them, love your spouse - I'll assume there's just one, love your family - all of them. LOVE!

John 13:34-35
"Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other."

Monday, October 5, 2009

I Believe

I recently read an article in which a Sociologist penned that youth pastors "need the kind of job description that allows them to spend lots of time with teenagers-there is absolutely no substitute for spending time with youth and sticking to it for a long time." I agree and disagree with this notion and am choosing to "blog it" to further explain through a series of I BELIEVES.


·     Youth leaders need job descriptions that give them direction and help them understand the expectations of their position. I don't believe they need more "free-time" to spend time with students, but intentionally planned and scheduled time.

·     There are better uses of a youth leaders job than just spending time with students, keep reading before you jump to conclusions. I believe in ministry through multiplication... investing in adult leaders, which multiplies our ability to connect, multiplies our effectiveness, multiplies our gifts and multiplies our Kingdom building efforts. Spending quality time developing, training and encouraging leaders is one of the best investments we can make. Great resource: Sustainable Youth Ministry by Mark DeVries. 

·     Spending time with students and families is one of the greatest benefits of being a Youth leader. However, we shouldn't just spend time with students and families to meet a quota. We need to be students of students, asking questions that give us insight into their world and life. Through these interactions we will better understand how to plan, equip and communicate to students and families.  

·     That youth leaders need "personal and family" times built into their job descriptions. Not to mandate a time of day to spend with their family or on personal development, but to have high accountability in this area. Many youth leaders ignore their own soul and family for the sake of the ministry. Most do this with the best intentions of trying to build the Kingdom; some do it because their job may be at stake if they don't produce the right numbers or office hours. BOTH are wrong and lead to burnout and in many situations the departure of good leaders. Family and personal time are imperative to longevity and health.

I BELIEVE in youth ministry and the local church. I believe that students can lead... now. I believe that Jesus provides and that we need to do our part. I believe!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Basic Student Ministry Tip 27

It's better to have supporters rather than fans. Fans cheer loud, pat us on the back, make us feel great and follow us as long as we live up to their expectations. Supporters will encourage, give strength and weather the storms of life by our side. A supporter's purpose is far greater than personal gratification.

Excerpt from Sustainable Youth Ministry

With more than 30 years of youth ministry experience Mark DeVries has provided a valuable tool to anyone who works in the area of youth ministry.  In his easy-to-read book, Sustainable Youth Ministry, Mark gives encouragement and tools for developing a youth ministry that will last beyond youth pastors and give health to those involved.  The following is an excerpt from chapter 8, Aligning the Heart.

When we have little to no life outside our ministries, we can easily develop unrealistic expectations, thinking that the church should "parent" us, provide a close circle of friends for us, offer worship and teaching stimulating enough that we always "get something out of it." But when we have a life outside work, we approach our imperfect institutions with a peace that can lead to long-term change. When I begin to take myself and my situation too seriously, it helps to remember that, in the animal world, it's the most intelligent creatures that play.

Take time to make new friendships, play and enjoy the life God gives you in and outside the church.

I highly recommend Sustainable Youth Ministry for anyone working or volunteering in youth ministry.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Basic Student Ministry Tip 26

Communicate in love.  Youth leaders often communicate to students and adults sarcastically. Ask a leader or friend that you trust to hold you accountable not only with what you say, but also how you say it. Check out Proverbs 26:18-19.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Top Pick for Music Of The Month

Music pick of the month, DUTTON. Great worship band from Texas. Check them out at

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Basic Student Ministry Tip 25

Don't allow your frustration to steal your focus. There will always be issues, people and time lines that will "call" for our attention and lead us away from our priorities. Determine the time and effort you can give to an area of frustration, with the help of an accountability partner, and prayerfully take steps to address the areas you can make a difference in. Don't waste your time and energy trying to "fix" issues that you can't.

Maintaining your ministry focus will minimize your ministry frustration!  

Monday, September 14, 2009

Basic Student Ministry Tip 24

Remind yourself everyday that ministry is a marathon, not a sprint.  Live, minister and work for the long haul.  If you go to fast to soon (or ever) you WILL burn out, it's just a matter of time. When you find yourself in a busy season, make sure to plan some time away at the conclusion of it to refresh, refuel and relax. Take your time and make your ministry matter!

Friday, September 4, 2009

No Bully Zone

I saw a bully today in action today.  I choose to watch and see the effects of the bully rather than engage him and challenge the thoughts behind his actions, which is what I would usually do. 

Steve, the bully, was late for the bus and appeared very irritable.  As the driver opened the door, he looked at the young child in the front seat and told him with a very serious tone, "move it, that's my seat today... NOW!"  The young boy moved without hesitation and Steve took the seat. The bus driver didn't say a word (which is another blog in-it-self) allowing Steve to control the bus and intimidate the students on it.  

As leaders of students, how many of us have bullies that control and "run" areas of our ministry by their actions towards leaders, students and programs.  How often are we given the opportunity to confront them in a Godly way to hopefully teach them but yet choose to ignore it. There is a time for grace, but there is also a time to teach and challenge the bullies. May God give you strength and discernment to know when and what to use to point the bullies to Jesus.

I will be praying for you... and your bullies!

Basic Student Ministry Tip 23

Exercise daily!  We do a great job of taking care of others; we need to take time to care for our bodies and health.  Take time to get out of the office and off your butt.  Go walk, run, or whatever it is that you enjoy that will get you're blood pumping.  Believe it or not X-Box is NOT considered exercise.  

Monday, August 31, 2009

We Are All Hindus... Say What?

The August 24 & 31, 2009 issue of Newsweek published a short article that caught my attention and has reignited a passion within me to help students and adults understand what it means to be an authentic follower of Jesus Christ and to worship God alone.

The article by Lisa Miller, which and be found on page 70, titled We Are All Hindus Now claims that "we are slowly becoming more like Hindus and less like traditional Christians in the ways we think about God, our selves, each other, and eternity."

A Hindu believes there are many paths to God, Jesus just being one of the ways.  Miller goes on to state that according to a 2008 Pew Forum survey, 65 percent of us believe that "many religions can lead to eternal life" - including 37 percent of white evangelicals, the group most likely to believe that salvation is theirs alone.  Near the end of the article she records 24 percent of Americans believe in reincarnation, according to a 2008 Harris poll.

My initial response was to question the statistics and to research "where" the surveys were given and how they were worded.  Then it hit me, I have witnessed this change of total acceptance and a fear of "judging" others and their beliefs for more than 17 years in youth ministry.  There was a day I was praised for teaching Josh McDowell's material Don't Check Your Brains at the Door by parents and students. However, I recently had a family meet with me to express their concern about how that could potentially make someone feel like they might not make it to Heaven if they don't believe Jesus is the Son of God. We are seeing a “Hindu style” religion right now in our schools, homes, teams, and even evangelical churches.  

I don't believe it's to late... I don't think it's ever to late.  We must begin to teach and explain not only what it means to be a disciple of Jesus and how to worship through great music, but also the apologetics behind act of worship… why we as Christians believe what we believe.  

John 14:6 leave's no doubt in my mind that Jesus is the only way to God.  This needs to be our starting point, not our only point.  We, as Christians, believe it and therefore it's enough to read it and point to it in scripture.  We share our faith and now the rest is... well, up to the person to accept it and Holy Spirit to lead or not to lead.  If we are to share with people who believe that many paths lead to God and don’t judge how you believe or worship, I don't know how effective we will ever be unless we teach our students how to share their position on faith, not just their faith.  

Years ago I was somewhat fearful of teaching Christian apologetics, the sole reason was that I would have to know what I was talking about and have to "defend" it to those that would oppose it.  I have learned over the years that it's not a defense of one's belief that makes others want to follow; it's the practice of those beliefs.  If I believe Jesus is the Son of God and He came to love, and demonstrated this by His death on the cross, I must ask myself: "how do I sacrificially love?"  If I believe that I can look at a person's spiritual fruit and see how they are living, I need to ask others what kind of crop do I produce?  If I believe He came for the sick, how do I love those who are lost, broken, naked, hungry and empty? Sharing my life should in essence be sharing my faith.  The relationship I have with others should reflect my relationship with Christ.  My actions should help defend, define and what I believe and develop a curiosity for what I represent.  The smallest spark can ignite a fire.  

I would encourage you to check out materials from Group Publishing ( and Josh McDowell ( to help in teaching your students how to better explain what it means to follow Jesus.

This is a "base-camp" post, there is a mountain of work and preparation to do, but the steaks and rewards will never be higher.  I am praying for you as you begin to lead and live what the Christian life is all about.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Basic Student Ministry Tip 22

LOVE GOD, LOVE PEOPLE!  A simple reminder of a simple truth that makes the most profound impact on your life and the lives of those you come in contact with.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Effective Meetings

Meetings are important and necessary in building an effective ministry.  However, many of us waste valuable time of our leaders and volunteers though ineffective and poorly planned meetings.  I hope some of the tips listed will help you plan and facilitate meetings that matter.

1. Meeting preparation:
  • Should a team help plan and give direction to the meeting or is it one that you plan alone
  • What do you want to accomplish through the meeting?  What is the purpose?
  • Establish doable goals.
  • Is this meeting necessary or can you have three conversations to accomplish the goal?
2. Participation:
  • Check to make sure all "necessary" people can attend the meeting.
  • Postpone the meeting if key participants are unable to attend.
  • Give at least two weeks notice of meetings so participants will have time to schedule and RSVP.
3. Distribution of all material:
  • Mail/email all meeting material out at least 48 hours in advance allowing participants time to read through them.
  • Contact each participate to make sure they received the materials, don't assume they received them.
4. During the meeting:
  • Set a positive tone.
  • Help the group stay focused.
  • Refer to the material that was distributed before hand.
  • Involve everyone, don't allow the dominant personalities to control the meeting.
  • Create specific follow-up actions with deadlines.
5. Post meeting
  • Email meeting minutes within 24 hours.
  • Follow-up individually with each member who has ownership of a follow-up us action to offer encouragement, support and accountability.
  • Debrief the meeting to ensure that you are continuously improving and building successful teams and leadership.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Top Pick for Music Of The Month

Every month we will be featuring an up-and-coming Christian band to promote and check out. This month we are proud to introduce to you Bellarive from Orlando, FL.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Best In Youth Ministry!

Basic Student Ministry Tip 21

Do EVERYTHING in your ministry with quality.  Give attention to detail and find people who will help you project, set and met deadlines.  If you stay on top of your ministry it can't weigh you down!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Just A Thought

Look for the beauty in all of God's creation. Sometimes our standards for beauty cause us to overlook some of the most amazing things in life!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Just A Thought

When my thoughts are deep my recognition of people's needs tends to become shallow.

Basic Student Ministry Tip 20

Take advantage of facebook, twitter and other means of social networking to communicate, pray and encourage the students and parents in your ministry.  Nothing new here, these are tools many of us forget or refuse to use.  Try one for three months; it works!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Fill Er' Up

When I accepted my first "full-time" ministry position I was very excited and very nervous.  I lacked many skills and abilities that come only from experience, but the one thing I had was energy... and a great deal of it.

I was a young full time college student working part-time and now serving as a youth pastor in a small church where "youth pastor" really equated to anything needing to be done.  It was during this time period I began to develop poor habits that would eventually lead to my ministry of "self" and not Jesus.  Instead of prioritizing my responsibilities, I found that working and studying twenty hours a day would allow me to accomplish all that I felt I needed to do.  My priorities were simple; school, job, ministry, friends, church and bringing up the rear was a personal investment in my relationship with Jesus Christ. 

More than seventeen years later I still have a list of responsibilities, in fact it’s larger, and I am tempted to go back to those twenty hour days and have.  However, I am a little smarter and realize that my first priority must always be the personal investment in my relationship with Jesus Christ.

When I am tired and spent and try to continue to minister, I do so out of the resources and strength of me. I don't have the patience, discernment, grace, love... okay, I lack most of the attributes of Christ.  It is only when I take time to retreat, refresh and renew regularly that I am most effective in my ministry and honoring to God.

Take time to "fill er' up" and watch the amazing things God will do through you, not because of you.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Basic Student Ministry Tip 19

I have been speaking at a great camp, with eight more days to go, and was once again witnessed the amazing ways in which God works.  I and so thankful that God allows me to be a part of His ministry, He doesn't need me... He doesn't need you.  We are privileged and blessed to be a part of Kingdom building and need to continually thank God that we are!  This is as basic and profound as I get.  Be thankful you are a part of God's ministry plan.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Random Youth Ministry Questions & Thoughts After 17 Years

  • Why do people think youth ministry is a "stepping stone" to real ministry?
  • How can we stop entertaining and really engage students?
  • If you "twit" in Twitter what do you do in facebook?
  • Why do we give our conscious credit when the Holy Spirit deserves it?
  • Why aren't more youth ministries working with the schools instead of just eating lunch there?
  • If more people worship and experience closeness to God through music, shouldn't we spend as much time singing as we do listening in church?
  • Why do we get so dangerously close to the "seat" of judgment?
  • More churches need multiple pastors who speak... my church ( does an amazing job at this.
  • Why are so many churches reaching their region and not their neighbors?
  • We need more churches to implement "special needs" programs!
  • If the goal for every great youth pastor becomes writing book and speaking tours, who will lead the daily grind of ministry?
  • Why can't more pastors sweep the floor?
  • Why is so hard to communicate the ministry vision, purpose, values and events that we lead?
  • How come so many pastors and leaders "preach" spiritual health and do nothing to strengthen their own?
  • Why are youth pastors half the age of lead pastors and does that mean I need to change roles soon?
  • Why is God's grace so easy to receive and yet so hard to give?

Friday, July 24, 2009

Basic Student Ministry Tip 18

Fully commit yourself to the awkward conversation.

Often when we approach students, they put up a wall of disinterest at our attempt to build a relationship with them. Whether it's legitimate on their end or if they are simply testing you, fully commit yourself the awkward conversation. It's better to have several conversations that go nowhere than it is to never even try because it feels "too hard" to find a way into their life. Ministry is hard - don't pretend it won't be. So make several, several attempts, never giving up. Eventually you'll find something to talk with them about and follow up with.

And if you need an example, you need only look to the constant invitational nature of God. How many times has He tried to build a relationship with us... only to have us brush Him off?

*Guest Tip by Pastor Tony Myles - to find more on Tony, check out his blog:

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Basic Student Ministry Tip 17

I recently asked a group of adults if they had any ideas and/or tips they would like to pass on to youth leaders that might help their youth ministries. These adults confirmed something I have known for a long time, adults care about students. I'm in the process of reading and reviewing more than 200 comments, emails and messages from people who what to see youth ministry make an impact for Kingdom growth.  The response was so passionate and overwhelming that I want to encourage you again to actively search for adults in your church who are looking for opportunities to serve, they are out there!

A great resource to read before you start the "ministry of involvement" in your church, is a book titled The New Breed by Jonathan & Thomas McKee.  This book is published by the best youth ministry resource (my opinion) with employees and leaders who have a passion to equip and encourage youth leaders around the world, Group Publishing ( Take some time, read the book and see the additional material Group has to offer... then, GO GET YOUR VOLUNTEER LEADERS!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Leadership Skills

Here is a list of characteristics a successful leader has or is working towards.  This is a short list that I picked up from a friend; feel free to add to it in efforts of developing your leadership skills.
  • Integrity - be honest.
  • Vision - plan and prepare for good things in the future today.
  • Trusting - trust others in order to be trusted.
  • Be Positive - look for the good in people and circumstances.
  • Compassionate - care for people.
  • Motivator - encourage and get others excited about being involved.
  • Commitment - follow through.
  • Prepare - be ready, for anything. 
  • Flexible - be ready and able to change due to circumstances.
  • Communicate - share your ministry information with parents, students, leaders, etc.
  • Brave - be willing to take chances.
  • Respectful - do to others as you would... you get the point!
As a Christian leader your first priority is to keep your personal relationship with God fresh, pray, read His Word everyday and continually ask for His direction in your life and ministry.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Interact Not Entertain

I watched a mother at Panera talking on the phone, not to her son.  For more than 25 minutes she carried on a very energetic conversation with... someone, while her son ate and sat.  His continual attempt to interrupt the phone conversation was met with a hand gesture to stop, stern look and a mouthed non-verbal "wait."   The first couple attempts the son made were with a great deal of energy as he saw something that caught his attention and filled his, what must have been about four year old, mind with excitement and wonder. The following attempts were a little less exciting and seemed to come with a great deal of apprehension, almost knowingly aware of the pending response. The final attempts were not even directed toward the mother, but now to an older couple sitting at the table closest to his.  The "grandparent" aged couple smiled, pointed and spoke with the small boy; they seemed to be enjoying the interaction as much as the he. Then it happened, the small boy moved from his chair to the edge of the table were this couple sat.  He was there for only a few minutes smiling, giggling and enjoying the time when the mother finally reengaged informing him it was time to go.  As the small boy left with his mother he waved and said "good-bye" at least three times to the strangers who took an interest in him.

Sharing this story is in no way a knock to the mother or parents who need to work to support their families. This is a wake-up call to those of us who minister to students.  How do we engage the students who are right in front of us? How do we take an interest in them?  Students who come to our ministries desire someone to interact not entertain him or her. 

The little boys response to his mother is much like the responses we will receive from students. How we respond to students will determine how excited they become about the ministry and Jesus.  They will either move closer or begin to look for other people and places that take an interest in them.  

My prayer for us is that students know we care, not because we teach it, but because we live it!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Basic Student Ministry Tip 16

When preparing messages, put a team together to help you. This team will help with creativity, developing ideas and series titles.  Meet with this team monthly in a fun, creative environment.  Plan messages at least three months out so your team can continue to pray and think about the message topics while looking for ways to support the series. When putting a team together, variety is important. Find people with different interest, vocation and backgrounds.  This will increase the potential for creating some great messages.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Basic Student Ministry Tip 15

A great way to save your time and budget is share resources.  How to utilize sharing resources among ministries:
  • While programming for the year make a list of the materials, resources and items that will be needed for your programs and events.
  • Consider an "all church" mailing that includes a list of items that might be needed throughout the year to help with a ministry program or event.  Ask those that receive the mailing to fill in their contact information and check all items that they would allow church ministries to borrow.  *Please don't forget to budget for repairs and replacement if something should break.
  • Connect with other local churches to borrow their resources.  We are ALL called to be good stewards, not just our church.
  • Advance planning gives you enough time to email a list of needs to see if other leaders have any of the items.
  • Share first; this opens the door for others to be generous with you.
  • Encourage others ministry leaders to look for ways to share resources.
  • Return items clean and on time.  If you find yourself sharing often, create a team of volunteers who will pick-up and drop-off.  
Start sharing and you will begin to start saving!

Friday, June 26, 2009

How Offensive Are You?

I once heard a speaker tell a group of pastors that if they weren't offending people then they weren't really preaching the gospel.  

I am happy to respond to this statement with one of my own.  A child coined it back in the 80's on a half hour TV show.  His response to the person who just gave him startling, shocking or insane news was, "whatcha talkin bout?"   This question was usually directed toward, but not limited to his older brother Willis.

I am always amazed at how many Christian leaders I meet that believe the best way to share Jesus with the "lost and broken" is through a judgmental approach of laying out the list of what we can and cannot do (this list usually involves no coffee in the sanctuary).   If these lost and broken people would work on following our list they might someday arrive and be like, or better yet, one of us.

Jesus clearly communicated to all people that in order for us to have a relationship with Him we must love. Love trumps all!

7Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.  1 John 4:7-8

Let's break it down like this; in a Bible quick search you can find the following words and how many times each is mentioned (this may vary depending on translation, NIV was used for the following search):

  • Correct = 5
  • Discipline = 12
  • Rebuke = 33
  • Encourage = 43
  • Teach = 236
  • Love = 258
This tells me that I need to evaluate what my motives, ministry and relationship with Christ is built on.  Is it teaching people the right thing at all cost, using our list of rules that has little room for grace?  Or is it living a Christ filled life, teaching and speaking truth in love and allowing the Holy Spirit to ministry to a person's heart.  We need to continue to remember that we don't change and then come to Jesus.  We come to Jesus just as we are and then our lives begin to change through the love, encouragement, teaching, correcting and discipline of the Holy Spirit and people who care that make up the body of Christ.

We are going to offend people and I am sad to say I have many times.  However, I never want to become comfortable hurting people, especially brothers and sisters in Christ.  I choose to represent my God as a God of love... now where have I heard that before?  That's right, directly from God himself (1 John 4:16)!

"You don't have to be offensive to be on the offensive." 

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Basic Student Ministry Tip 14

Plan your ministry calendar at least six months in advance.  Here are a couple ideas to help with the planning your calendar.
  • Check the "general church" calendar to make sure you don't schedule an event that would conflict with another ministry.
  • Invite volunteer leaders and parents to a calendar planning party (have food and have fun).
  • Confirm with vendors and event locations before putting them on the calendar.
  • As difficult as it may be, try to put cost, times and locations on you calendar.  This will make future planning for families much easier.
  • Don't worry about cool images and fancy font; make the information easy to read.
  • Have your calendar proof read by the lead church office manager/secretary, and a volunteer from your ministry to make sure everything looks good.
Remember the saying, "if you fail to plan, you are planning to fail."  Plan your ministry and get the information out to the people in your church and community.