Silo or Segment?

Posted by on 4:49 pm in Uncategorized | Comments Off

A sincere staff member once accused me of existing only my ministry “silo”.  Because of who he was, and his commitment to our ministry, I could not dismiss his observation. But I was still angry. After my anger subsided, I began to understand he had a point. I came to understand several difficult conclusions about the youth ministry.  We did OUR events and rarely invited other staff members to speak into them or attend them.  We promoted OUR ministries regularly in social media but didn’t use our platforms to highlight special things that...

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The Prayer I No Longer Pray

Posted by on 4:17 pm in Uncategorized | Comments Off

My youngest child is leaving soon for a mission trip with her youth group.  In my morning walking/praying routine I was thinking about her upcoming experience.  I prayed for a lot of things during my walk, but the one thing I did not pray for might be surprising the reader— What didn’t I pray for? Her Safety As a former youth pastor, I have led trips and participated in local mission for decades.  In those years I tried to anticipate every possible scenario and account for them.  I made sure each student was properly supervised by a loving...

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Managing Momentum in Youth Ministry

Posted by on 7:17 pm in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Growing up as a kid in rural Indiana, our winters gave our neighborhood gang of kids a lot of opportunity to sled. Our favorite game was to run and flop belly down on our flexible flyers and make the run on the long road from our houses toward the highway which was about a quarter mile away. The contest among us was to see who could make the longest “run” down the road. The key to completing the longest run was to properly manage momentum. By committing the peaks and valleys to memory, and by properly reading the grooved sections of the...

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Four Warning Signs of Burnout

Posted by on 8:48 pm in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Ministry is emotionally, mentally, and spiritually taxing. Regular, recurring, and renewing Sabbath is key to not just a sustained minister, but also a sustainable ministry. Are you in need of rest and renewal?   Are you resentful of the people you are ministering among?   All of us have been frustrated when a program didn’t go according to plan or a youth caused the toilet to overflow (again). If your frustration compounds into anger and resentment, you may be on the verge of burnout.   Are you bored with your own ministry?...

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Things You Were Never Asked To Do (But Maybe Volunteered For)

Posted by on 2:29 pm in Uncategorized | Comments Off

One of the opportunities I have been afforded in ministry is time to let my youth pastor friends and colleagues vent. Youth workers are my heroes and they deserve a safe place just like anyone else to “let go” and be heard. In a vocation where many hurts linger below the surface, it is a blessing to be trusted and invited in to these holy conversations. Given space and opportunity, it doesn’t take long for us to commiserate and share what is currently troubling us in our ministries. As the “arc” of the conversation builds, peaks, declines,...

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Simplify 2017 (part 2)

Posted by on 8:00 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Habits are the invisible architecture of your life (Brian Solis) and your ministry. In order to effectively minister, you simplify the chaos and diversity of your job. How do you simplify a job that calls on you to be a preacher, counselor, curriculum designer, worship leader, game designer, adolescent expert, parent liaison, logistics expert, treasurer, and secretary all on average Monday?   Structure your week through simplification. Plan specific tasks at regular times throughout an average week.   Here’s what works for me:...

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The Youth Pastor Guide to the Proper Care and Feeding of the Senior Pastor

Posted by on 12:00 pm in Uncategorized | Comments Off

The call to be a senior pastor is a heavy one. Rarely are two days the same. “Ministry” can happen in a moment’s notice and can suck up several days. Any one day can include emergency visits to the hospital, marriage counseling, funeral preparation, denominational meetings, sermon preparation, wedding preparation, business meetings, building maintenance, an impromptu counseling in the canned good aisle of the grocery store, or even finding food and shelter for a family in need. The above list is long and doesn’t include time for spouse and...

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Your Best Staff Meeting (in 30 minutes or less)

Posted by on 8:30 am in leading, meeting | Comments Off

Staff meetings often feel like frustrated, fast food drive-thru lines: Everyone is there, but in a hurry to be somewhere else. When drivers take too long and orders are confused, drivers begin to stew in anger, silently wondering if it was worth it. Your staff is asking the same question. In the midst of busy ministry, staff meetings become the thing everyone agrees is important, but cannot name the rationale. The lack of direction creates not only drift from your intended purpose, but also resentment among the staff. One of the most...

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On Vision (part 4)

Posted by on 10:07 am in leading, vision | Comments Off

Inconsistent vision is lack of vision. True vision united diverse people and programs around common goals. Lack of consistency reveals a problematic presentation of application of vision. How is the vision made manifest in each of your programs?

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On Vision (Part 3)

Posted by on 12:38 pm in Blog, Coaching, leading, vision | Comments Off

Your vision should be clear, concise, quotable, and audacious. Vision that is not easily understood is quickly lost in translation. Vision that isn’t clear peters out in transition. The clearer the vision, the more easily it ripples beyond the source. The longer the vision, the more it leaks. Commas and run-on sentences poke holes in an otherwise powerful vision. The brevity of a concise vision focuses the mind and the energy of the people. In the information age, attention wins. Quotable vision gives your vision life beyond your lips. A...

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