Posts Tagged With: Ministry

Taking Time to Honor

Years ago I had an idea.

I am not sure where it came from, I may have heard of it from another youth minister or I may have just been inspired one day.

But I had this vision of the youth ministry no longer feeling and acting like they were in opposition to other ministries, especially senior adult ministries, in the church.

For many years I watched other youth pastors gripe and moan about how the “old people” were holding the church back and ruining the church for the next generation. And this saddened me for two reasons, first the shortsightedness of the youth pastors that were saying these things and second the fact that there was some truth to what they were saying.

Then the idea.

What if we taught our students that instead of viewing the senior adults as problems we taught them to see them as heroes?

The Honor Banquet was born.

The concept was simple. The student ministry would plan, prepare and host a banquet for the adults in our church who were over the age of 55. The adult leaders would help oversee this event but the students would do all the work. We would roll out the red carpet and go all the way to make the senior adults of our church feel special. Everything, from the decorations to the meal to the clothes that would be worn by the students would reflect how special the occasion was. The students would help cook and plate each course of the meal, wait tables and provide entertainment.

This past week the student ministry at the church I just started serving with in October had the chance to put on their very first Honor Banquet. After all was said and done, I could not have been prouder of our students and adult leaders. The banquet was executed flawlessly and those who attended had nothing but praise for the students who waited patiently and attentively on everyone in attendance, going out of their way to make sure everyone had a great time.

More importantly the students had a chance to express a great and emphatic “Thank You” to all the members of our church who have given so much over the years and acknowledge that without the senior adults’ contributions to the church in years past there would be no church here today.

This has been the seventh year I have been able to lead a ministry in doing an Honor Banquet and it gets better every year. If you are a youth pastor our a student ministry leader let me encourage you to take time to honor those in your congregation that have done more than you can ever know to serve the kingdom.

You won’t regret it

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Categories: Life, Ministry, Religion | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Starting a New Chapter

One of the hardest things I have found in ministry is the knowing of when you have finished a  chapter and it is time to move on to the next. There was a point and time this year that I felt like I may be at that point but I could not bring myself to simply walk away with no other ministry to go to.  My wife and I talked at great length and I decided to steal a page from Gideon and ask for a sign. In my prayers I was very specific and asked God to show me exactly what He wanted and He has graciously answered my prayer.  It wasn’t necessarily pleasant or an exciting moment when I got that answer but it was undeniable. And so last week I submitted my letter of resignation to Reedy Fork Baptist Church where I have served the last 5 almost 6 years. It has been a wild ride along with plenty of ups and downs but I can conclusively say that this chapter is over.

So what is next?

I don’t know.

As of right now I have no job to go to , no church to attend, no house to live in. I have some time to figure all that out and have some options available to me. What I do have is peace and clarity. There is something very exciting about knowing that God gave you the exact thing you asked for even if it was the last thing you really wanted and knowing that this is exactly what He wanted.

It hurts.

It hurts to say goodbye. It hurts to walk away from something I built up from near nothing. It hurts to know that so many that counted on me for things in the community will have to find someone else.

But I have no worries for myself. No worries for my family. And I look forward to the day when God reveals more about the next chapter of this thing I refer to as my calling.

Oh and if you happen to know of a church looking for a really great guy to be their youth minister….

Tell them I am available anyway

Categories: Everyday Thoughts, Life, Ministry, Religion | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

The Right Relationships at the Right Time

So apparently tomorrow for means days later…..

I talked in my last post about the right kinds of relationships that Jesus formed and how we can make the wrong relationships for the wrong reasons. While those relationships are not evil they are certainly more edifying to our self than to the Kingdom.

In my ministry obviously I want to build relationships with all students and all parents but that blanket approach yields minimal results and impact.  I want to be strategic and smart about the time I am pouring into a students life so as to multiply the kingdom. With that in mind let me address the types of students I have encounter and the types of relationships I build. I want to talk about the least critical and move into the most critical.

The strong Christian student with two godly parents– I have several of these in my group and they are all precious to me and my relationship focus with them is to empower them to continue on the path to godliness and to encourage them to stand out as leaders. I intentionally spend the least time with these students( least doesn’t mean none) because I have confidence in them.

The strong Christian student from a broken home but with at least one godly parent–  These require a little more time and energy than the previous because they are dealing with hard questions and deep hurt. However, they have a good background to hold them accountable and help them deal with issues. My time is spent as an outlet for these students to deal and vent their pain and anguish but at the same time I am pushing them to keep their pain from deterring them from their walk.  I find ways for them to further their walk by encouraging them to develop themselves as leaders and servants

The student with troubles at home- Sadly, this is a very common student. This student is one you will lose quickly if you do not invest. They are in church but they are being distracted by problems and because of their spiritual immaturity they are struggling handling those issues. It does not matter the number of parents at home or if the parents are involved in church this student has made a profession, is attending regularly and is involved with your programming but is teetering on the edge.

The student with post Christian parents– These Students have a good home and their parents have strong values and were raised in the church but to them the church is just an option and is blown off in favor of other activities. These students are the hardest to spend time with because they are never around but you know that without reaching them they will likely grow up to and never go to church because they see no need. Sometimes however you will have a student that breaks the mold within the family and desires to be at church and is being used by God. These kids need your time!! Do not waste any opportunity to share with them and develop your relationship with them.

The  student in a broken home with no parents involved in church– I will stop short of saying no “godly” parent but if parents are not in church it does not bode well for their spiritual growth. What you see from these students is sporadic attendance and lackadaisical commitment to the ministry because their is no reinforcement at home to attend church.

The male student with an absent/abusive father– These next two break my heart. A young man needs a positive role model in his life and he longs to receive love and acceptance from his father but when that father is not present or is abusive a whole host of issues presents themselves. Self esteem, rebellious behavior, anger, lashing out, lack of motivation etc. all rear their ugly heads in this situation I try my best to be there for these guys spend time with them encourage them do things with them that their dads should be doing with them. Ultimately becoming that role model that the student so desperately needs.

The female student with and absent/abusive father– This is the most dangerous and hardest relationship to cultivate and navigate. Girls need their daddies and with out them they become self destructive.  They long for the affection that their dads owe them and when it is not available their self esteem and self worth bottoms out.  After they lose their worth they become free game for any man who gives them faux affection. This leads to multiple sexual partners at an early age and further damage to their self worth. These girls are in our youth groups and many times very active and that is where the danger begins.  Many times that same need for affection leads to an infatuation with a youth leader or youth pastor and attempts at cultivating a relationship is misconstrued. This is trouble for all parties involved and can ruin a youth workers life and career. Be very careful with this relationship. The best approach is a team approach typically with the youth pastor AND his wife together investing in that student helping to build confidence and understanding and helping them find their worth in Christ.

This is a lot of information and I could probably write twice as much but this is my approach. Do you differ do you change it up? Do you reverse it? I am interested in hearing your thoughts.

Categories: family, Ministry, parenting, Religion | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Opened with Expectation and Closed in Profit

That is a good book which is opened with
expectation and closed in profit.
~ Amos Bronson Alcott ~

To  really get your leaders on board with the vision that God has given you you are going to have to shape not only their thoughts but how they form them. Through the years countless books have been written on the church and what is going on inside and out. Most ministers/pastors  devote a great deal of time to reading these books along with their normal Bible Study routine.  Through these avenues we find inspiration and God begins birthing visions based on what hHe is revealing to us through these combinations of Scripture and teachings.

Here is the problem

Most church lay leaders are not deep in their Word much less reading other books about the church and culture so when we go to those leaders with a completed vision it is like we are talking an alien language.  So in the process once the vision is developed we will go back from the beginning

1. Take your leadership into a deep study of the Scriptural foundations of what the church is and what the church should be doing.   It has to all start in Scripture. As your leaderships sees you delving into Scripture and see the fundamental components of what you are leading them into their minds, eyes and hearts will be opened and they will be ready for the next step

2. Assign your leadership to read what you have read. As they read what inspired you they will start to glean terminology and methodology and see what roads you are going down this will prepare them to go even farther.

3. Discuss the readings with your team.  These discussions will help you direct the ideas that are forming in your team’s minds and it will plant concepts that God has already birthed in you but in smaller form than the completed vision.

In this way once you have laid the groundwork then the vision casting will unfold with more acceptance and excitement. As you talk they will understand and identify and they will feel connected enough to support the vision. Ultimately setting up a more successful task and satisfied leadership.

Tomorrow I will identify another way we can build our leadership.

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They Don’t Think Like You

One of the biggest mistakes that I have seen church leaders make is to walk into a situation and assume that the people who they are leading are on the same page.  This tends to lead to conflict and confusion down the road when the leader starts moving in a direction that no one understands at best and no one supports at worst.  The resulting domino effect is both heart wrenching and head pounding.  This can be avoided, to some extent, with the proper preparation and cultivation.  I want to cover some principles in the next couple of posts.

1. Understand that while you may be God’s called leader don’t assume that everyone will follow you solely or recognize your leadership.  The church is complex and while you may be in a leadership position it takes many people leading to get a congregation moving in the same direction.  Your church may be elder led or deacon led or staff led but the key is that whoever is in your circle is leading other people. If they support you they will lead others to support you. But to be able to support you they must understand and buy into what you are doing.  Remember they do not think like you. They are not inside your head.  You bear the responsibility of communicating not only your vision but the building blocks of your vision.

It is awesome to have a idea burdening your heart develop the vision and then cast it. It is quite discouraging, however, to see a bunch of blank faces staring back at you after you are finished. What is possibly a more effective approach is to take the idea develop it and then go back to what sparked the idea. And walk your leaders through it slowly.  If they can see each step along the way they will not feel lost, in fact they will feel included and invested int he idea and they will in turn sell it to the people that look to them for leadership.

Tomorrow I will discuss some ways that you can cultivate the thoughts in your leadership.

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Down from the Mountain

Having  just come back from an amazing weekend with our youth group it is an easy thing to get down.  After all we experienced coming back down to reality is a little depressing.  Most of us in the ministry recognize this as a mountaintop experience and understand the brutality of the realization that we have to exist in the real world where it seems we are in a losing battle at times.

We need to understand though that this is not unique to our time or our place. In fact we are provided with a number of instances of this very problem in the Scriptures.

Moses- Ex 32

After being on the Mount with the Lord. Moses had to return to reality and the reality was that the people of Israel were already turning their hearts away from the God that had delivered them.  Can you imagine how Moses must have felt? Here he was meeting with the Lord of Lords and his people that he had sacrificed so much for were worshiping a golden calf!  Talk about depressing! So then Moses has to go into leader mode and rebuke the people. Not what I would want to be doing after meeting with God.

As a minister I can relate.  It seems that the moment i walk in the door after coming back from a trip I am confronted with the fact that there are people even in my own church that are more concerned with worldly matters and there own self satisfaction than the movement of God.

Elijah- 1 Kings 19

In 1 Kings 18 Elijah has this amazing victory over the evil prophets of Baal. God worked a miracle beyond anyone’s belief and Elijah was left standing as His victorious prophet.  Fast forward to chapter 19 and Jezebel has threatened his life.  Elijah must have been wondering why God would give him such a victory only to allow him to be killed by the same evil that he had been trying to overthrow.

Sound familiar? I think we all know of someone that has come home from a mountaintop experience to be confronted with a life crisis. Whether it be an issue with work or home, personal, material or emotional we all know of someone that has had to face a crisis.

Jesus- Lk 9:41

Yes!! Even Jesus had to face this problem. Jesus goes up and is transfigured and discusses what His death will mean. I imagine that this was an exciting conversation. To be talking about the salvation of the people He had created surely got Christ pumped. But as He came down off the mountain the first thing He was confronted with was a complaint about His disciples. His response clearly shows His concern.

Don’t you just love to have to deal with complaint’s? They are bad enough when you are not coming off a mountaintop experience but having to be dragged down when you are focused on things much higher and nobler is quite rude.

The point is the world is going to be ready to destroy our optimism and excitement but we cannot let that divert us from the course that we must take. The closeness with God always reveals to us what we need to do so we need to do it!! Now go do it…..NOW!!

Categories: Everyday Thoughts, Ministry, Religion | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Green with Envy

I want to add a disclaimer to the front of this post that I did not intend to do a “green” post on St Patricks Day. But hey here we are let’s go for it.

I have been pondering this issue of envy for a while. I will be honest it isn’t because I recognize it in people around me and think that they need to hear about it is because I personally am a very envious person.

Oops…. I just admitted I am a sinner.   Now I will be in hot water.

Seriously though, as a young minister with a heart on fire for God and a desire to be more than the status quo I find myself envying other ministers and ministries all the time.  And I hate that part of me. In my heart there is a delicate balance between wanting to do all I can for the Kingdom and wanting to be like so and so minister at super church across town.

James 3:14-16 says this

14But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. 16For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.

There are two distinct things that we as leaders have to face.

  1. Envy
  2. Selfish Ambition

OUCH!!! I have already discussed the Envy part a little bit but you throw the selfish ambition in and it is like twisting the knife.

Envy presents two problems

  1. It is disfavor with God’s favor on others
    1. When we take the position of envying someone for any reason it is immediately questioning God’s favor on that person. While it may be indirect the statement that we are making is that whoever we are envying is not deserving or is less deserving than we are. We may make comments like “it’s not fair” or “that could/should be me” etc.
  2. It is displeasure with what God has given to us
    1. Whatever situation we find ourselves in and  in whatever state of life it may be , we must hold onto the fact that God has placed us there to be stewards of what He has given us.  Our displeasure is the equivalent of shaking our fist at our Lord and saying that He does not know what is best. DANGEROUS place to be to say the least.

Envy itself presents itself in several forms.

  1. Relational Envy- When you envy someone’s relationships and the qualities they seemingly have.
  2. Material Envy- When you envy someone’s material possessions
  3. Physical Envy- When you envy someone’s physical appearance.
  4. Developmental Envy- When you envy someone’s advancement in life.
  5. Skill Envy- When you envy someone’s ability to do something or do something better than you can

I had never thought about these but when I really started delving into this issue it cut me deep.

Relational envy can destroy friendships and marriages. I causes drama period, ever known a person to try to get between two friends….that is relational envy.

Material envy is probably the most well known and thought of. It consumes people and their time. It is why we have so many workaholics.

Physical Envy is what the fashion industry is built on. But we can take that further, do you think the makers of P90x and Insanity SlimFast and any fat burner at GNC are really interested in your health. NO!! They are preying on your physical envy

Developmental envy is my failure.  But it goes deeper. A kid who can’t wait to be 16 or an adult wishing he could be a kid again. Or a minister wishing he could be in a church that was really reaching people and experienced the freedom to do ministry apart from church politics

Skill envy pulls us into comparing ourselves to everyone else.. You will never and I mean NEVER  be the best… the minute you are someone comes along and is better. You need to deal with it.  Accept the skills God has given you give them over to Him and develop them for HIS glory.

Envy is destructive. Look at Cain and Able, Joseph and his brothers, Judas, the Pharisees and Jesus, all examples of envy invading the heart and causing great sin to follow.

Bottom line we have got to stop comparing ourselves to everyone else and move on with what God has place before us. Envy can accomplish no good and James tells us that it is directly opposed to anything of God. It is earthly not heavenly, unspiritual not spiritual, and of the devil not of God. According to 2 Timothy 2:22 we are to flee evil and so we should run as far away from envy as we can.

Search your heart…..what is God telling you/

Categories: Everyday Thoughts, Life, Ministry, Philosophy, Religion | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Final Unleash Word

After all was said and done I LOVED Unleash. I have a new respect for NewSpring Church and affirmed respect for Perry Noble. That being said I wanted to address the controversial jab that Perry made at his critics during the second session.  If you weren’t there and haven’t heard let’s just leave it as “rude”.  I have talked with several people about it and some of the reactions bothered me.

First let me say personally that I believe it was way over the line.  It is one thing to refute a claims validity or a persons integrity but when you get personal I think you need to take a step back.  But as we do with so many things we cannot just look at a sliver of the pie and get the whole story.

1. Perry is brash that is what makes him successful as a preacher, he tackles things in a very open way and speaks his mind and people like that. With that type of personality comes slip ups.  Just as with an adrenaline junkie there will be broken bones.

2. Perry has been under constant fire for a long time. Eventually that takes its toll and the thick skin is broken. I think that is what I saw and heard Thursday

3. Someone made the statement that it ruined the whole message. Listen if one sin in a persons life can ruin the message then you are either idolizing a man and are dismayed because he isn’t perfect or you are looking for imperfection so as to not have to listen. Truth is truth and there is no way around it

4.  No blogger or stranger is going to call Perry out and get him to apologize or change.  He is a pastor of a HUGE church and every DAY there are probably HUNDREDS of complaints that their church has to field. What has to happen is that someone in a position of trust needs to say something OR God needs to convict.  All of us on the outside looking in simply need to pray for one of those two things to happen

5. Just to let you know, Perry is human…… Just saying

6. I don’t know a pastor that doesn’t struggle with sin. Some just do a better job of keeping it hidden. Perry is Perry and at least you know where he stands

Those are my thoughts.  After ministering in churches over the last ten years I have seen a lot and I can honestly say that the good always comes with bad. It never changes.  I will continue to thank God for churches like NewSpring and pray that their leadership will stay close to Him.

Finally I doubt that Pastor Perry will EVER find this hole in the wall blog but if he does let me say this:

Pastor I am one insignificant blogger that sees you as a great man of God still growing and maturing in your faith, something that we all continue to do.While I don’t always agree with you I definitely support you and admire you. Thanks for being obedient and for influencing a generation of believers and pastors.  Keep up the good work and know that there are bloggers out there that won’t rip you to shreds.

Well that wraps up my thoughts on Unleash I have a lot to process and will be chewing on these things for a while.

Categories: Life, Ministry, Philosophy, Religion | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

UNleash Mind Dump (Part 2)

I was supposed to do this yesterday but I took the day off and spent some quality time with my wife which was much needed.  I probably have never said this here but my wife ROCKS (and is hot to boot)

Ok here it goes

  • God can give you a sloppy wet kiss or a big fat kick….it’s his prerogative
  • If you are a pastor every week the rocks are coming…people will want to stone you
  • Acts 14:8-10 Paul heals a man—- that is a Great day in ministry
  • Be careful listening to the crowd. Those that deify will crucify
  • Acts 14:11-19 Paul is stoned— Yeah pretty much a bad day in ministry
  • Acts 14:20 Paul continues on—-Call to every pastor
  • They stoned Paul…..the pastor…not any of the support staff….the Pastor

3 Rocks that are thrown

  1. Deception
    • Pastors you do NOT have to do everything
    • The Bible says those that will not work are LAZY but those who will not rest are DISOBEDIENT
    • The second most abused person in the church is the Pastor’s wife
    • Pastor Jesus doesn’t need you to love HIS bride he needs you to love YOURS
    • Pastor you will never impress your wife with your job performance…
  2. Distraction
    • Churches have a lot of agendas other than Jesus
    • God is not green….. Kermit is
    • Pastors, your people can believe in you and go to hell or believe in Jesus and be saved
    • God can use us because we were barren and worthless and He could receive the most glory from us
    • Pastor you will never impress your wife with your job performance…
  3. Discouragement

3 words to remember

  1. Awareness
    • We make mistakes because we are unaware
  2. Unity
    • We have too many HUGE Understandings in the church
    • Lead with integrity be who God called you to be not some stereotype
    • Get big vision from God stop trying to push yours
    • Listen to your staff they are called to do their jobs not to have you do it for them
    • Keep short accounts do not hold on to bitterness
    • Make expectations clear and realistic
    • Honor your staff’s time they have families too
  3. Passion
    • If you can’t support the vision of your church get off the team
    • If your pastor is disobedient then let God cut him down (that is HIS job)
    • When a pastor has staff and leadership that gather around him he will be able to get up no matter what stones have hit him
Categories: Life, Ministry, Religion | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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