How to CRAFT a Contagious Culture

Posted by on 7:51 pm in Uncategorized | Comments Off on How to CRAFT a Contagious Culture

We often use gimmicks to bring people into our ministry. (Bring a Friend Day, High Attendance Day, etc.) Those gimmicks are not sustainable and can actually become a hindrance to connection (people, especially youth can sense ulterior motives). Wanting to draw others in is a noble goal, but the only sustainable way to do it is to CRAFT a contagious culture. Here’s how:  CelebrationA community repeats what is celebrates. Give attention to the good things in your ministry, make sure to highlight (via videos, pictures, interviews, or...

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Cookies and Resolutions

Posted by on 4:19 pm in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Cookies and Resolutions

I had resolved to eat less sugar in 2019. After welcoming the New Year in with friends, our contribution to the party held one last cookie. (Read the last three words again, but one word at a time, with the appropriate gravity of ONE. LAST. COOKIE.) It was a special occasion. I couldn’t throw it away. Forty-five minutes into my 2019 resolution, I was already off the wagon. Here are some that (I hope) will last longer. fall in love with God again rediscover your personal curiosity for what God is doing in the world rediscover what makes...

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CLEAR your week in 2019

Posted by on 11:22 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on CLEAR your week in 2019

Growing up, I had a dog that enjoyed bursting through an open door and running free. Because it was often my brother or me that let her sneak out, it was our responsibility to run her down and bring her home. My dog, a master at fakes, jukes, and misdirection, made it a frustrating endeavor that could stretch out over hour. Chasing her left us tired and angry.              Early in my ministry, my week could also sneak away, leaving me chasing emergencies and struggling to identify which direction I should go. By the end of the week, I was...

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Enjoy the Honeymoon

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I have been through 5 job transitions in my vocational life. Each transition was unique, because they took place at different churches. The one similarity among them, however, was a “honeymoon”. The honeymoon referred to here is that period of time when the hiring church or organization gives the new staffer extra time, grace, and space to learn the culture of their new setting. The honeymoon period is fleeting, but it offers a unique opportunity that can be leveraged for impact when approached as an opportunity. Consider the suggestions...

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Silo or Segment?

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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 on The Prayer I No Longer Pray

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 on Managing Momentum in Youth Ministry

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 on Four Warning Signs of Burnout

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?   Every job has...

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

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)

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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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