It's just my junk

We all have junk in our heads. This is mine.

Archive for the month “September, 2011”

Showing the Love Youth Ministry Style

Andy feels the love

As a long time youth worker, I have been blessed in a variety of ways over the last 18 years of ministry. Some of the more useful ones are: a week long trip to Disney and Sea World, a week on a sailboat, a condo in SC, a pig (it was already processed). Some that mean as much but wouldn’t seem so to the non-youth worker world: Our entire yard forked, toilet papered trees, a flock of flamingos put all over the lawn, some creative decorating of my vehicle two different times, balloons all over my office and so on.
Allow me to challenge you to think through how you have been appreciated? I think we often feel the world is against us and we are in a little island of youth work but in reality we exist in a society of specially gifted and like minded people.
September 14th was the date of the picture posted along with this blog post. It was taken at Group Headquarters in the office of the awesome Youth Guru Andy Brazelton, yes we blessed him beyond measure.
I was sifting through my photo album and realized just how much we did to his office… we put a rickshaw in it…. and then it dawned on me.. It was a bunch of youth workers showing their love and admiration of a fellow in the trenches guy who truly cares about youth workers… So Andy and every other youth worker out there who has been blessed with a messed up office or car or yard know how truly special and appreciated you are..
God Bless and good luck cleaning.

Donuts, Junior high students and a flag pole

See You at the Pole….
I know every year on the last Wednesday of September Christian students and their leaders gather around the school flag pole to pray. Some spend time singing, some spend time chatting others just get to praying.
I had the privilege this morning of teaming up with three other area Junior High Pastors to oversee and participate in the first Junior High See You at the Pole in almost 4 years. It goes without saying challenges were present… for example… would any students show, how would the school deal with it since their principal (who is a strong man of faith) recently left his position at the school, would any parents or teachers show, would every youth worker play their part in the event….
We had a fairly slow start but gained moment… once students arrived they enjoyed some tasty Dunkin Donuts and spent some time getting to know each other, getting to know the various leaders present and waking up.
We gathered around the pole to pray for the following items:
1. The school officials, teachers, staff etc.. and the lunch lady
2. They prayed for their peers, their witness and ability to help people see and know God
3. They prayed for the moment this event has created for them to be encouraged and excited to be a Christian in their school. This is started the process for our weekly bible study.
My prayer is that students can develop a boldness to actively live out their faith in tangible realistic way.

Sifted by Rick Lawrence

I had the privilege of reading Rick Lawrence’s book called Sifted. I thought it was going to be one of those books you have to read and get very little from but was extremely surprised. I am not a big reader and rarely connect with the author during a reading.
Not with Sifted… Rick did an awesome job of walking with the reader through a couple key stories from the bible and his personal life. He did a great job of stretching my mind and heart in how I think about challenges in my life.
I am well aware we have events and occurrences that happen and I say “what the heck did I do to deserve this?” and some additional complaining. Now, I admit to still having those emotions but my thought pattern now turns to thanking God for the opportunity to grow and be sifted (tested) through the trials and challenges in life. God spoke to Satan about his servant Job and have enough confidence in him to challenge the devil to sift him….
I would strongly encourage you to read the book and allow the book to minister to you and challenge you to be sifted for Jesus.

Sifted By Rick Lawrence

What is your outlet? Who are you supported by?

Where do you go to vent? How do you deal with the challenges and struggles of youth ministry?

Now why would I be suggesting the need for a support system? Because it is something I have come to long for, appreciate and need over the past 17 years serving as a youth worker. I have been in many different environments and situations that have provided some great moments of connections and equally challenging seasons of loneliness.

After attending the Summit, an event where youth workers head to group headquarters to discuss the future Simply Youth ministry Conference it hit me hard. Youth workers ultimately are only as good a their support system is. I don’t know where you currently fit into this area but I know I have had long periods of drought and emptiness in the name of people not understanding, being to busy doing God’s work to meet and being the only full timer in town. No matter the situation deep down I needed continual support from others in the trenches if youth ministry.

It is well worth the effort and time to reach out to other youth workers, businessmen or women or maybe a mature believe to meet with regularly. The conversations could be about work but I would recommend you focussing on heart, mind and spirit things, under skirting it all in prayer.

Check out the simply youth ministry message board, churches in your immediate area who have youth ministers, or just .hang out at Chipotle or your local coffee shop ( a hot bed for youth workers to exist).

Pray that God would open the heart of someone who can connect with you on a regular basis. It might take a friendly conversation and time to gradually build a friendship/ support system. And take the time to develop key relationships for support.

Grief do you have a plan

Do you have a plan? Do you have a plan in place for your student ministry when a bad situation occurs? If so, awesome! Please take some time in your monthly schedule to review your plan, educate your leaders and pray.
If not, please consider the following step to establish a solid plan to be prepared:
1. Prayer is vitally important leading up to, during and after any grief.
2. Educate your leaders. There are a few good sources out there to use .
a..Such as Rich Van Pelts book called The Youth worker guide to helping teenagers in crisis.
b. Marv Penner’s book Help! my kids are Hurting: a survival guide to working with students in pain
3. Communicate with parents about your plan and resources.
4. Continually build healthy relationship with teenagers
5. Be ready to act
I know our natural tendency is to blow this off but God’s word teaches us to be prepared.

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