Tag Archives: Renewed Call
Call to Youth Ministry

I Really wish you wouldn’t


Please don’t use youth ministry as a stepping stone. I know that there are times when people who are called to Youth Ministry later feel called to be a Sr. Pastor or a Worship Pastor or a church planter.

But if you know you want to be one of those, Please don’t become a Youth Pastor to gain experience. You are ruining kids and churches.

The other Youth Pastors around you know you are a phony, and your kids will hate you when they find out you were just using them.

If you want to be a church planter, go be a church planter, and leave Youth Ministry to those of us who are passionate about it.

Take time to have spiritual renewal

Rest


Apparently, my body was much more tired than I thought it was from the last few weeks of going, because today I didn’t wake up until 2 pm.

My body needed rest and today it got it.

I find it very interesting that God designed our bodies to shut down when they need rest. Like you can’t stay awake for too long before things in your body begin to shut down and find the rest they need.

It’s amazing, though, that it’s not the sort of deal that you could, say stay up continuously from monday morning until friday evening and then make up for it by sleeping friday evening until monday morning. Our bodies wont work that way, they can’t function that way.

I remember when I was in college on the Debate team, we had tournaments in the fall just about every weekend, and the amount of energy and time the debate team took was just as much as a full time job, only we were all full time students as well. So what would end up happening is that a few of us inevitably would go to the Debate Lab (section of main university building with offices, computer lab, lecture rooms and cubicles) on tuesday after class, stay there all night working on homework/debate stuff until wednesday classes, go back to the debate lab and work until thursday classes, then get on the bus and sleep for the first time since Tuesday morning. I think this is what really instilled in me my addiction to starbucks.

But I remember one time doing this same pattern just on an off week, but extending it a day to friday, and going to sleep friday afternoon with the intent of just taking a nap and getting up in time to go see a movie with my friends. So I go to sleep at about 3:30 pm and wake up and my clock says 6:00 pm. I figured great, I feel so rested with just that, plenty of time before the movie starts. I headed out of my room and discovered my friends getting ready to go…to the football game. It was Saturday, I had slept nearly 27 hours straight!

So whats the point of all of this. And I know its somewhat contradicting because I said we can live that way but I just showed a week where I did. And I hope it goes without saying, you can’t LIVE that way, you can get by for a few weeks, but you cant live like that. It’s miserable.

Well I say all this because I know that many students live this way spiritually, and I fear that many in ministry do as well.

Part of our Sabbath is meant to renew our souls, to reconnect with God. But many times, we are too busy to not be busy. So we push it off to the side, we consider lesson preparation our quiet time, we rush through our prayers, and we don’t take time to really focus on why we are doing what we are “doing for the Lord.” Then, when we do get those moments, we try and get so much out of them to make up for the times we missed.

But this is no way to Live. I wish our spiritual lives would sometimes shut down on their own to get the rest they truly need because we too often ignore the warning signs that our tank is getting low. We need to take sabbath. We need to daily connect with God and be renewed by him. We can’t allow ourselves to be so busy doing things for the Lord that in the end we don’t do anything for the Lord.

I know as Pastors we know this. But we also all know to go to bed every night, but we still get tired.

Serving in a small town ministry

A little honesty goes a long way


I assume that at some point, we all go through experiences like this. Those times where we know something to be true but don’t live it out in our lives. Like we all know we should pray and read our bible, but there can be huge chunks of time in our lives where we don’t. And I think its after those moments of realization that we learn the most and are shaped the most.

If I am honest with myself, there is something I was being hypocritical about for the past few months or so. I always try and encourage other youth pastors to live this, and I expect it out of churches and Pastors, to the point of frustration. It’s something I encourage my students to live, and its something I encourage christians in general whom I talk to to live.

It’s the simple idea that Jesus commanded us, Love our neighbor. Romans 8:28 tells us that “In all things, Christ works for the good of those who believe in him” and I have often taken that to mean, in essence, God has a plan for everything. It doesn’t always mean its going to make us happy in the moment, but it means that no matter what, God’s plan is in action.

Part of that is the notion that Where you live, where you work, the roads you drive, the people you interact with at starbucks as you wait in line to order your cappuccino, its all part of God’s plan. God has placed you in the neighborhood he has placed you in for a distinct purpose; to be the Good news in that neighborhood.

If I am honest with myself, I haven’t been living this out. I moved to this Small Town from big towns, growing up in rather large cities, seeing ministry done in large city settings, doing ministry myself in larger cities.

And if I am even more honest with myself, it frustrated me to see peers graduating from the same college I did with the same education going right out of college into large churches in large cities. Even a half hour down the road in the biggest church around is a Liberty grad. And I have students in my Youth Ministry who go to Sunday Morning church and Sunday school at that church, and have Sunday school with that person and then come to our Sunday night program and tell me about all the cool and great things that are going on there.

And it sometimes can make me jealous. I mean, I wish I had a huge youth room that was full of sack chairs and adult volunteers who got youth ministry and were loving on the kids without having to be trained as much as I feel I need to train some of my volunteers.

I wish our ministry had vans and I could do some of the trips I would like to do that our almost impossible to do without large vans.

I wish I wish  I wish.

But God has placed me at the church I am at in the town where we are for his purposes. I can choose to seek his will or try and do my own thing my own way, but only one of those will be successful, and it doesn’t involve the word “my.”

So if Im honest with myself, I see that I have a sweet set up. I have a God who has places me in this unique area for a unique purpose, and If I allow him, he can use me , even in a small town, to do great things. Not great things for myself, but great things for his kingdom.

 

Finding your Passion


The last few months have been rough for my wife and I. A series of events in our life just led to one thing after another, with each just beating us down a little bit more. And honestly, it led to a time recently where I was feeling burnt out. I was done with Youth Ministry for a while, done with the American Church, just done with everything.

I knew God had called me to minister, specifically to Youth, but I was struggling with a lot of stuff. I had all but written off continuing serving in my position.

But over the last few weeks God has really taken me on quite a journey back to Joy. My passion for serving, specifically serving the kids in this area, has never been stronger. God has really shown me things that I need to improve and what things are going well, and I’ve never been more excited about doing youth ministry.

If I was completely honest with myself, I would have to say that the single most important thing that happened in all of this to reignite my passion is I finally felt heard, I finally felt understood, and along with that came a feeling I hadn’t felt through all of this, that I had support.

I think the Life of a Youth Pastor can become very lonely, particularly in small towns. You always read that a key to not burning out is having friends outside of your church, some where you can go where you wont be known as “the Youth Pastor.” But the reality is that in a small town thats hard to do.

But this episode in my life has shown me that without a doubt, it is of great importance to understand the correlation between Lasting Passion and being supported. If you want to last, if you want to keep going in youth ministry, your going to have to have support behind you. Yes, my wife has been great support, but ultimately, you need more. You need that fellowship with someone outside of the situation, because ultimately whats said about you is said about your wife and vice versa.

I could be way off base here. Ultimately, just because you have support doesnt mean that what you are doing is right either, and many times we can have misplaced passion because we have found support. But in the end, Passion will burn out if we have no one behind us saying “Your doing good, keep going,” and if we lose that, our passion will soon be gone too.

Wins and Losses


Fact: Youth Pastors Burn Out every day.

I know its easy for some to say “If you burn out of youth ministry, then maybe you were never meant to be in youth ministry. But that is garbage. Good, Godly, Great men and women every day burn out from doing what they were wired for every day. It has nothing to do with lack of a call. If someone is seriously stupid enough to sign up for youth ministry, to sign up to get little pay to hang out with crazy kids for long hours and see barely any fruit over the course of years, then they didnt burn out, they just realized “What was I thinking?”

It happens to the best youth Pastors and the worst youth Pastors. Burn out is coming for you and its coming for me. Truth be told, I came very close to burning out the last few months. They have been extremely rough months feeling like my flame for youth ministry was dwindling ever so smaller and insignificant.

Its easy to burn out when your getting home and looking at your losses. Seeing your failures and never seeing your wins is one of the fastest ways to burn out. So the answer is easy, count your wins!

Now this isnt to say you shouldn’t look at your losses and just focus on wins. How on earth would you learn from doing that?

But every day, let the last thing you do in your office be a score card. Write down at least one Win you had that day, and then write a loss. The next morning, remember your win, and make that loss a win today.

Because I feel like this post is turning too Dr. Phil for my liking, and because I already got the point across, have a great night, I’m out of here.

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