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5 Easy Excuses for sub-par Youth Ministry


One of the lies that is easy to buy into, particularly for new Youth Pastors in small towns, is that our ministries are not as effective as others. I mean, this past week, my dad sent me the video his youth pastor made at their church for their Student Ministries Promo, and man, it made you want to be a part of that ministry. It was awesome! There was evidence of lives being changed, kids coming to Christ, Parents supporting the ministry. It was enough to make one jealous.

So if you are feeling in the dumps about the effectiveness of your Ministry, here are five simple excuses to help you feel better about yourself and help your supervisors understand why your not having the same results as down the street;

1. Facilities – if I just had better facilities, we could do so much more.

2. Volunteers – if we just had more volunteers, we could do so much more
3. Student leaders – if I just had some student leaders, we could do so much more
4. Time – if I just had more time, we could do so much more
5. Budget – if we just had more money, we could do so much more
The problem here is that these are all valid excuses. We could do more in our ministries if we had bigger spaces, bigger budgets, and more bodies.
But be that as it may, God doesn’t care. When it all boils down, God has placed you in your specific ministry in your specific church with your specific context to do his specific work. Just because there are other youth groups that can afford to give away iPad’s for door prizes doesn’t mean that that is what your called to do.
Does that mean we shouldn’t seek those things? Absolutely not. You could do more with more space and more money and more bodies.
But should that be an excuse to run a sub-par ministry? Absolutely not. If you can’t find a way to make what you have run effectively, you stand no chance of being more effective with those things.
So quit making excuses, quit being content with sub-par youth events, and make the most with what God has already entrusted you with.
Power point loop

Weekend in Review Volume #6


Series: He Said What? A look at the words of Jesus Christ, wk. w

Sermon in a sentence: The key to friendships/relationships that last is to Love Differently, Love Unconditionally, and Love out Loud

Understandable Message: We all long for deeper friendships, but sometimes we aren’t aware that friendships take work, they don’t just happen. In John 13, Jesus laid out a model for better relationships, to Love Differently than the world (the world tells us if it feels good, do it, so we do it as long as it feels good, but that leads to the second point…), we must Love Unconditionally, and we must Love Out Loud.

Element of Fun: We are going to be going to the One-by-Youth In St. Louis in a few weeks, and so last night we gave someone the chance to go for free, but to win they had to make an impossible shot. Really all it was was a bucket on one side of the room that they had three chances to throw a ball into. Fairly simple game, but since our participant didn’t win, we will try again next week.

Music playlist: Shane and Shane – Dare2share unending worship cd is what we listened to pre-service. ( we dont have a worship team yet, but check out this post and you’ll see I am working on it)

Memorable Moment: One of our questions in our break out time dealt with the difference between loving with our words and loving with actions, and why words aren’t good enough. Two groups got stuck on this question and couldn’t quite understand it, a guys and a girls group. I gave the same example for the most part, but slightly different, and my guys group that it was pretty great. The guys version involved their city being under attack by evil invaders, and one of them building a wall while the rest sat behind him “encouraging” him. If they really wanted to show love, they would help him by taking action. The girls scenario was that the human race was becoming extinct and one of them was placed in charge of gardening all of the food for the rest of humanity to live on, while her friends sat back and “encouraged” her.

Up Next: He Said what? wk. 4

 

When it’s no longer any fun


Being in Ministry can be rough. I initially started this post out as being a Youth Pastor is tough, but having grown up the son of a Pastor and a brother of a Missionary, Youth Pastor, Children’s Pastor, and someone very active in leadership with MOPS, I know that its not just Youth Ministry that is tough.

My heart has been breaking for Ministers the last few days / weeks as I read more and more blog posts about issues in the church, most that don’t even necessarily come from those we minister to, but from those who are supposed to be our partners.

One of my favorite quotes from Mike Yaconelli goes something like ” I am in awe of youth workers, and I think Jesus is too. I just wish the church felt the same.”

I remember in college and a lot of youth ministry books I have read, they always deal with facing the challenges that come with working with parents, because just about every youth worker, I’m sure, has dealt with this.

But the reality for today, I feel, is that the greater challenges come from the Sr. Pastor, or board of Elders. Any number of blogs could be found dealing with the frustrations of Youth Pastors who for whatever reason can’t seem to find harmony with their superiors. And it breaks my heart. I know it breaks God’s heart, too, because this is not what he intended “ministry” to look like.

We are supposed to be able to lock arms with our superiors to fight evil in our communities. We are supposed to be able to be partners in working to bring about Life-change in our neighborhoods. We are supposed to be able to work together.

But the painful truth is that many churches in this country aren’t able to.

And I don’t think there is any “across the board” solution other than deep soul searching by both parties, and an honest conversation with God.

Because in some cases, the Pastor may be the one holding it all back with his arrogance or pride, being set in his ways.

Still, in others, the Youth Pastor really is just a young renegade who saw how one church was doing things and now thinks that if a church isn’t doing it that same way, they are wrong and old fashioned.

Whatever it may be though, many of our peers our hurting. If you are one of those youth workers lucky enough to love your church where you are serving, you have no problem calling it home, and you love working with your superiors, then be thankful for it, and pray for our comrades.

If you are one of those hurting, who has reached the point where Ministry isn’t fun anymore, its not worth it anymore, you know your called to serve but you can’t serve where you are for much longer because it is sucking the life out of you, I’d love to talk, I’d love to connect in some way and share stories and hear your frustrations. Because honestly, sometimes just letting them off our chest to someone else who can relate makes it possible to stay another week, believe me I have been there before.

But know this – God has a plan. I know we all know this. I know we tell our students this constantly. But we have to hold on to that hope that even in the messed up circumstances Youth Pastors can sometimes be in, God is at work.

Youth Room Atmosphere


So I know that I wrote on what makes a youth room, and discussed how really it has nothing to do with the atmosphere but more so to do with the Leaders, but that doesn’t necessarily mean atmosphere should be an after thought.

All that to say, we are repainting our youth room. I like keeping it looking fresh, and though we had a really sweet background on our stage that was all these different blocks of gray, its getting old. It was one of those things that looks cool the first 5 times you see it, and then it just looks boring.

This time, I think were going with a much more simple background on stage, just one solid color, and hopefully getting into doing a lot more set designs. If your looking for cheap set designs for youth rooms, check out the Youth leader Stash, Chad is always posting new ideas.

My dad


This post will probably not get me any traffic, but I dont care. Im not in it for traffic, I blog because it sharpens me as a leader.

And I know my dad most likely wont ever see this, because he never visits my site. But I dont care, because I’m not writing it to please him.

But we all have that one person we look up to more than anything, whether its for advice, as a role model, whatever. And I consider myself the luckiest person in the world that that person for me is my father.

Tonight I spent a great deal of time watching videos from his church on youtube, and I am blown away by his heart for people and ministry and God. I remember when he was candidating for this particular job several years ago, and the search team called me in for an interview, and how later they said that one of the main reasons they hired my dad was because of me, because they saw that since I seemed so clearly Christ centered, it spoke volumes of the character of my dad (which is why I still feel today that the most important trait of an elder/overseer/ pastor is the point Paul makes about managing his household well).

I remember back then feeling super arrogant about that, as though it spoke about my character. I teased my parents for a while, since I had no car, that since I got my Dad the job, in essence, the least they could do was to buy me a car.

But that statement/sentiment had absolutely nothing to do with me, but had everything to do with my parents. It spoke nothing of my character or leadership, but spoke volumes of theirs.

When it comes down to it, this should be an accurate portrayal of our relationship with our heavenly father. I believe it was Spurgeon who once said “Preach the Gospel at all times, and when necessary, use words.” People we lead to Christ should be led to Christ because they see his beauty shining through us. They should think that since we so clearly love the Lord, the Lord must be great, because in the end, he is. I dont want to lead people to the Lord because I have a great life and if they become Christians, they can too. I want to lead people to the Lord because they see him in me.

To close it up, I pray that some day I can be as great as a Father as my Dad was to me and my siblings. I look at my siblings and am utterly amazed that of the 5 of us, all have served or are currently serving in ministry. Thats rare. I don’t say that to show off about my family, but to say, my Parents were amazing Parents. I pray I can be a fifth as effective as they were in ministering to my family some day. I know I married a woman just like my mom, I just pray I can someday be just like my dad.

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