Tag Archives: Help
Almost two years ago my wife had my Bible engraved with the words “Treasure Map for a New Adventure” I don’t think that either of us we’re prepared for what that would really mean. We had just accepted a new position as the youth pastor a church in Central Arkansas, and that had meant saying goodbye to our home and our friends from the previous five and a half years. So our “New Adventure”, we thought, was this next phase in our youth ministry journey, after all it’s what we do, who we are. Well over the past two years God has for a lack of a better term screwed me up. Starting last March Jesus began to seize my life in a complete new way, a way that at first made me uncomfortable. I began to look at the things I had been doing, how I had been approaching ministry and in light of what I had thought was important began to shift what we were doing (See getting rid of Elmo). There were a lot of things that God changed and birthed in me during this phase, but perhaps the most dominate thing has been a fervent passion for the Word (Thank you David Platt. punk.). I suppose that alone will destroy things you believe, assuming they weren’t actually in the Bible, and cause you to move beyond casual church Christianity. Shortly after the initial dynamic switch in my world God began having people tell me they thought I was going to be called to pastor. Well if you’ve ever talked to me about youth ministry you know that is about the last thing I could see myself doing. I’m a “lifer!” (A phrase my best friend and mentor coined referencing guys that are in youth ministry for their whole lives). It was really easy to dismiss those comments, I’m a career youth pastor with no pastoral experience, I have never been to seminary, and I’m anti-establishment. No way any southern baptist Bible belt church is hiring me. Besides, I told myself, I certainly would not make a good pastor. Well there were too many things happening, people telling me, and desires welling up inside me so I reluctantly asked God what was His desire for me. I reminded Him that I love my students, they are growing, they are the future, I’m not sure I’m qualified to be a grown up pastor. I sought Him constantly for about two months and His response came to me over two days in early November.
“You are in Potiphar’s house. Preparing for something larger. You are going to be a pastor.” I was actually relieved to finally have some clarity, as unbelievable as that seemed. I was still very uncertain that I could do all that pastoring requires but knew that if God was telling me to go do that, and I didn’t want to end up in fish I should probably move that direction. Besides Joseph was in Potiphar’s house for a long while learning to speak Egyptian, run a household, and unbeknownst to him getting ready to run a nation. Then Day Two took being unprepared to a whole new level.
“The church you’re going to pastor is to be one you start.” A CHURCH PLANTER?!!! You don’t have any money when you’re a church planter! I have a wife and three children and a good paying job and an Awesome house, and… I DON’T KNOW THE FIRST THING ABOUT PLANTING A CHURCH!
So that is pretty much exactly where I find myself. Following God in obedience, stepping out of my comfort zone and past experience to chase His will for me. To allow Him to do whatever He desires, clinging to Him for dear life as I step out into this new adventure.
I often find myself in awe of great pastors that we find in the main stream media Christian media; Steven Furtick, David Platt, and Francis Chan to name a few. As a communicator I often stop and wonder, aside from just God wants them to be his messengers, what it is that makes them them and me well me. I’ve even asked the question to my pastor and several others and their replies, while varying slightly, were simply opportunity. These men were in the right place at the right time and God used them. It sounded good to me, made complete sense, and as I found out is true, well partly true. I watched David Platt’s message “Outside the Camp” to the SBC in 2009
and like fifteen seconds into it I realized why he’s the man. Sure he was blessed with an opportunity, but if he wasn’t who he is the opportunity would have meant nothing. The truth is David Platt & the lot of “great” pastors/speakers are who they are for the same reason that Tiger Woods is the best golfer in the world.
Tiger Woods is awesome at golf for several reasons. First he has a passion for the game. I read in a magazine today that he just purchased a huge new “pad” complete with a four hole putting green in it. He genuinely still enjoys golf, even to the point where its fun enough to do even in his down time. He hasn’t let the fact that golf is his profession strip the joy and love for his sport away. In the same way David Platt (and these other men) have a passion for God and His word. Their role as pastor has not diminished the hunger for the presence of God’s word in their lives.
Tiger Woods Daddy had introduced him to golf before the age of two, and he’s been working on shaping his craft and skills, his knowledge and his understanding of the game. He like Peyton Manning of the Indianapolis and other great athletes constantly strive to improve. They continue to spend time practicing so they may deliver to the best of their ability. In those first fifteen seconds I watched David Platt passionately recite scripture from memory, there stood a young man who had clearly spent many many hours in the Word. Studying God’s divine book was obviously something that he did on a very regular basis, with great intensity and discipline. His commitment to take the call of God’s messenger very seriously was evident and he delivered God’s message with the type of confidence that comes when you’re completely confident of the results of your efforts in study.
The application for me today is a humbling one, and my friend summed it up best when he said regarding Tiger, Peyton and Dr. Platt, “it’s there obsession.” They are obsessed with the Lord and His Word, and in light of that thought all I can do is repent.
Hey we are entered in author Don Miller’s Million Miles short film contest, and I’m asking for your help. Here’s how you can help, Vote!!! You can vote once a day from each computer you can get access to (ie. your home, your work, your iPhone). Please click the link below and click on the thumbs up! Then if you don’t mind please let your friends know to vote too. Post it on your facebook, twitter it out, call your friends, mass email, whatever ways you can think of. It will be deeply appreciated:
Here’s the link to the video: http://bit.yl/9DeruK
This is also, an unfortunate pit many youth guys/girls fall into while trying to make their youth space more appealing. Let me tell you a truth that I’ve learned, if you have a small space, you actually need less decorations.
If you have a small room thats been designate for your youth don’t panic as you can still have an awesome space.
First off you need to decide the main purpose of your space; is it fellowship (a place to hang out and have small group discussions), or is a room you plan to use for a big group meetings (teaching/worship etc.) This is mainly important for deciding what type of furniture you need to have. If you have to use it for both then get simple chairs and end tables that will move easily to be rearranged to meet the variety of purposes the room will have.
Next your going to want to create a focal point, whether its where your small stage will go or where you want the focus to be drawn. You don’t want to over do it like this:
This kind of design in a small space makes it even smaller. Instead try something like this one:
Again its all experimentation when it comes to your particular circumstances, so just remember that when it comes to small spaces less is more.
Mark Cox is the youth guy at Indian Springs Baptist church in Bryant Arkansas, and is one of the most passionate guys I’ve encountered in youth ministry. I asked his permission to steal this post from him, as he says what many of us have felt or experienced in student ministry:
In youth ministry, one of the hardest things I’ve had to experience is leading students into a growing relationship with Jesus, while their parents are doing the opposite. In a lot of cases, the parent wants the best for his/her teenager. It’s just that their definition of “best” might not match up with mine. There are some hard-and-fast rules to engage if you don’t want your teenager to care about God. The following are just a few.
1. Make sure their extra-curricular activities are priority over church. You should always make sure that their scholarships are intact, and that they don’t get kicked off the team. That’s definitely more important than their relationship with Christ and eternity, for that matter.
2. When your teenager screws up, ground them from church. Of course! If they don’t care that you take away their TV, cell phone, or friend time, hit them where it hurts. Take away church. Yeah – that oughta do it.
3. Don’t call them out when they need guidance. Always let them make their own mistakes. And if they’re about to do something super-destructive, it’s probably best that they learn on their own. Because learning it the hard way is always the necessary path, right?
4. Talk negatively about your church staff around your teenager. If your pastor messes up, make sure that you call a family meeting to roast him. You should definitely let your teenager know that people can’t be trusted, especially incompetent church leaders. Your teenager needs to know that trusting church leaders isn’t smart! If they don’t trust church leaders, there’s a small chance they’ll ever accept God’s direction in their life. And that’s the safer way to live.
5. Don’t model real faith. At the end of the day, the last thing you want to do, if you want your teenager to ignore God’s voice, is to follow it yourself.
Please know my heart on this issue. We parents need to be leading our families to Jesus every chance we get. Maybe it’s time to take inventory of who or what we’re actually leading our families to.
After all, actions speak louder than words.