On Vision (part 2)

Posted by on 10:36 am in Coaching, leading, vision | Comments Off

The most overlooked component of vision is contextualization. Vision that is removed from the regular rhythms of life quickly evaporates. Your vision should rest in the tension between your world as it is and your world as you want it to be. What is God calling your people to do? What difference does it make to the people who live next door? (part 1 here)

read more

On Vision

Posted by on 10:33 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Don’t underestimate the power of a well-communicated vision. In the absence of a clear, compelling vision, other (competing) visions elbow their way into reality. Conflict, apathy, boredom, restlessness all emerge from a lack of vision. Unity, passion, and partnership are born from contagious vision.

read more

The Sacredness of Trying

Posted by on 10:08 am in Blog | Comments Off

I learned very early in my ministry that not everyone would like me. I learned every parent and every student carried unique emotional, relational, and theological baggage into every interaction I had with them. I learned that not every program I worked hard to create and execute would be well attended. I learned that students will text while you speak and snapchat while you pray. I have felt the sting of the unanswered text, the unreturned phone call, and the ignored high five. I have also discovered the potential of sharing and connecting....

read more

Old School Tools (Part 7)

Posted by on 11:12 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off

I am an introvert who tends to stress at surprises and unexpected twists. The most important old-school tool I have discovered: a pack of gum. Chewing gum is a proven stress reliever – and a much better one than throwing or breaking any of the other old school tools we’ve shared (here, here, here, here, here, and here). Gum also has tremendous community-enhancing qualities. Whip out a pack of gum and in 4.67 seconds, you will have a pack of students surrounding you. Gum serves as a tremendous third object to overcome awkwardness...

read more

Old School Tools (Part 5)

Posted by on 7:33 pm in Uncategorized | Comments Off

I learned the hard way – if it isn’t written down, it is forgotten. One of the key components of ministry is remembering – names, stories, experiences – and following up on them. When I am on retreat, mission, or any extended period with my students, I have a pen and journal in my back pocket. Literally. I pull it out often – to note conversations (curriculum potential), experiences (to celebrate or commiserate later), and inside jokes (to laugh about again later). A cheap but durable moleskine journal will get you through...

read more

Kill The Youth Council (Meeting)!

Posted by on 11:17 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off

  Got your attention? Many churches and denominations demand that each ministry have a committee to represent decisions related to their ministry area. This is not, of course, a bad idea unless it is executed poorly. Here is what I have found after almost three decades of dealing with youth councils— Problems Participants see their role as advisory. Most decisions will still be made by you-The youth pastor. Most of the work will still be done by you. Time-honored vs Effective Approaches When I arrived at one youth ministry, I inherited a...

read more

Old School Tools (Part 4)

Posted by on 7:00 am in Blog, tools | Comments Off

If you have ever been shocked at how quickly it got dark while you a) tried to balance your phone in one hand and cabin list in the other b) cozied up next to a headlight while calling out small group lists c) attempted to organize a game with a flashlight in your mouth it’s time to upgrade. A headlamp, the original hands-free device, can end the awkward yoga-towards-the-light poses. Cheap and lightweight, the headlamp gives you the ability to direct traffic, unload luggage, point students, direct leaders, and give high fives. It also...

read more

MLK Today

Posted by on 9:24 pm in Blog, leading | Comments Off

Today, we celebrated one of the best among us; Martin Luther King, Jr. He possessed a unique ability to go beyond shallow, individual-focused faith and bring the prophetic voice of scripture to bear on the world in its entirety. King’s dream has sadly and shamefully gone demonstrably unfulfilled on Sunday mornings, when congregations resemble more a 60s era Woolworth’s counter than the kingdom of God.   We cannot claim the dream of Martin Luther King, Jr. if we are not ready to practice it. “Practice it” in the sense that it may be...

read more

The Introverted Youth Pastor

Posted by on 8:03 pm in Uncategorized | Comments Off

I am a strong introvert in a large ministry. If that seems oxymoronic, you aren’t alone. Despite half the population being introverts, we have come to define “youth ministry” and “introvert” in mutually exclusive terms. It has been a struggle that I am thankful for. Being introverted does not mean: You are shy That you do not like people That reading is your preferred form of recreation That you do not enjoy leading from the front Being introverted may mean running into the following misconceptions. You lack enthusiasm/compassion because you...

read more

Youth Ministry as Homecoming

Posted by on 9:55 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off

It happened again.  A kid showed up at my door.  He was looking for my son (who is his age) but came in anyway when he discovered that my son was not home.  He spent some time chatting with my wife and then accompanied me as I picked up my son from a sleepover.  On the way home we stopped for lunch at McDonalds (I paid) and then with his mother’s permission he spent the rest of the day with us.  During the course of his visit he related that he had made his parents upset earlier that day.  It was not a big deal but was just enough family...

read more