Monday, August 11, 2008

Check out my new blog at

For many reasons I have moved my blog to . Please check it out!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Oops I did it again..

This blog is in response to Common mistakes to avoid in youth ministry : 100 blog topics I hope you write.

Oh where to begin. Looking at the different blog topics, this topic really struck a nerve with me. My first thought was, “man, I could tell you about mistakes, I come up with new ones all the time!” If there is a wrong way to do things, I believe I have experienced it. So here are some common mistakes as well as some new ones to avoid in youth ministry.

Mistake # 1.
Do it all yourself.
Plan all the activities, come up with the lessons, teach the lessons, make sure the youth room is clean and ready, prepare the games and all the components for the games, Plan the mission trips, prepare all the food, forms, and keep up with the money for the trips, handle all counseling and mentoring with the youth, and anything else that comes up, be sure to take charge of that as well and you will soon die from exhaustion !

Mistake #2
Point out all the bad behavior in their lives.
Youth are the most horrible people on the planet. Most of them smoke, use drugs, drink, cuss, lie, gossip, fight, and generally smell bad. By pointing out all their flaws, they will see how righteous you are and generally never come back to your events again.

Mistake #3
Focus on the Media, not the Scriptures.
Kids love powerpoint, and cute little video clips of movies and commercials that they’ve seen a hundred times. Oh yeah they love sound effects. Fill your allotted time for lessons with these and use scripture only to prove the moral behind the story in the movie or commercial. A good lesson will include 20 minutes of media for 4 minutes of bible teaching. This really prepares their heart for the behavioral change.

Mistake #4
Don’t let non-Christians go on your trips.
It’s ok if non-Christian youth want to come to church on Sundays and Wednesdays, because that’s where their supposed to be. But by no means should they be allowed to go on ski trips, mission trips, or any other trip that may be planned for the youth. God will save them, but we would rather He did it at church.

Mistake #5
Yell at them.
Naturally their hearing is ruined by all of the ipods and mp3 players they’re constantly listening to. Yell at them to get their attention. Yell at them when they’re misbehaving. Generally speaking if you want to motivate them, you have to yell.

Mistake #6
Have at least 100 rules for them to follow.
Come up with a list of rules, at least a 100, for them to follow. Require them to memorize them, live by them, and scold and embarrass them with they break one of them. This system worked well for the Pharisees in Jesus’ day.

Mistake #7
Do not make yourself available away from the church.
When you are not at the church, your time is precious and you should avoid keeping in touch with the youth. Youth become easily attached to such great role models, and you have more important things to do. Don’t show up at their school events or extracurricular activities, because this only feeds a sense that you care. You are their youth pastor/leader, not their parent or friend. Make it clear to them that if they need to get in touch with you, you are available on Sundays and Wednesdays only. Besides you’re not getting paid for this.

** Disclaimer**
I am stopping here with these 7 common mistakes in youth ministry. It seemed like a good heavenly number. I have not personally made all of these mistakes… yet. Sadly, I have made too many. These are, however some of the more common mistakes I have seen in youth ministry through the years. This blog topic could also be called “ 7 ways to kill your ministry”. I know that my ministry has taken a hit in the past because of some of these mistakes, but through the grace of God and a very Godly mentor, restoration has been able to take place, and God is working through us.

Oh yeah, I just thought of something. We’ll call this the “Bonus Mistake”.

Bonus Mistake
Don’t Pray.
Praying takes up all your time. It takes away from finding all those media clips, and sound effects. It also takes away from planning all of the activities and trips. Pray for yourself and your ideas, that God would see it “your way”. Don’t bother wasting time praying for the youth, because their parents are doing it for them anyway.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

The Dark side of Technology

Gone are the days of two tin cans and a string. I remember getting a set of walkie talkies for Christmas and being so excited because now I could communicate with someone 100 feet away. Imagine my disappointment when I found out the other walkie talkie in the set belonged to my sister! I remember the day my Dad came home with a cell phone the size of a loaf of bread with an antenna a foot long. I remember thinking that day how far technology had come and it wasn’t going to get any better than this.
When you see a teenager today, there is usually some kind of device plugged in or attached to them; MP3 players, cell phones, laptops, PSP players just to name a few. However, it’s not just the kids. How many of us own cell phones, computers and MP3 players? How many of us can’t wait to check our e-mail every day? How many of us cannot leave home without our cell phones? Have you tried finding a pay phone lately?
The Lord has blessed us with technology. Technology allows us to communicate with people world-wide at the touch of a button. Because of technology, we’re able to discover places never known to us before. Technology has allowed us to do things with our ministries and our worship services, that was unheard of twenty years ago. Unfortunately, just as there is good in this world, there is evil. Technology has a dark side.
Technology has molded us into an “I want it now!” generation. People go into debt, buying the latest gadget, just so they can have “instant access”. We eat our dinners in front of the television, spend hours surfing the internet, and talk on our cell phones incessantly. Because of technology, people have become disconnected with other people. No one writes letters anymore. Neighbors no longer meet at the fence or front porch to talk and visit. Instead we ‘text’ them or send them an e-mail.
Slow down. Turn off the TV, unplug the computer, and power down the cell phone. Consider the example being set forth for your children. What are you telling them, by your lifestyle? Eat dinner with your children (minus the TV). Play board games, or catch. Read to them or with them. Discuss and make conversation. Pray with them. Invest your life in your children, no matter what their age.
What matters on this earth is, not that we are living (temporary) but how we live (eternal).

Thursday, March 20, 2008

A Father's Love

It's amazing the love a father has for a child. What's even more amazing is the love the Father has for us!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Do we have to beat them over the head with it?

Three years ago when I began teaching Sunday School, there was a kid in my class who had a bad taste for Christianity. Short of the Long, he had been burned by the church. I don't even know why he bothered coming back, other than his parents probably made him. Anyway, this kid was hardcore. Black hair, anti-conformist, self proclaimed agnostic/atheist, gothic, emo, you name the cliche, this kid was scary to most people. He was always at Sunday school but I never could really get him to participate. I never forced him to nor did I push the issue of what he was invoved with, I just prayed for him.
Over the next three years I formed a relationship with him. We've played paintball together, talked about movies and books that we both like, even music that we have a similar taste for. About a year ago we atarted texting each other jokes and just basicly goofing off. But I noticed changes in this kid. He was more approachable. He wasn't professing to be an atheist anymore but he wasn't professing Christ yet either. I just kept praying for him.
Two months ago something weird happened. This kid shows up on Wednesday night! This kid would always come to Sunday school but after it was over with he as gone, not to be seen until next week. But here he was on Wednesday night. He has been there every Wednesday night since and has even started coming to the youth events that I have throughout the week. I thought there was a girl in the class that he liked and that was why he was coming.
Turns out it was not a girl but God. There had been a girl @ his school that has been hammering on him for the past few months to change his life around. God broke down some walls and this kid rededicated his life to Christ.
As I am talking to him last night, he is telling me all this and he wants to be baptized to let everybody know. He admits that he's having a hard time walking like he should because there is so much damage from the past he is having to overcome. I look forward to helping him through those times and I am on cloud nine as I write this. What's more, Iam excited that his life will be changed, maybe because of something I said or did, or because of something his freind said or did, but more importantly because God drew him to Himself.
Do we need to beat people over the head with the shoulds and shouldn'ts? Do we need to make them feel guilty in order to get them to make a desicion?
No. We need to get out of the way and let God work on them. We need to love them, encourage them, pray for them , and live our lives openly before them, and God will use it to bring them closer to Him.
Jesus Rocks! God is too good! and I'm glad He came after me! This has made the past three years worth every frustrating minute!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Watch Your !@#$%^ Mouth

In a recent article by Melanie Glover for the Associated Press, the Headline reads "Teens casually cuss a bluer streak than ever, Can they stop themselves?"
Teenagers are more likely today to use profanity as fillers in their conversations than teenagers in the past. If you've walked by a group of teenagers lately in the mall, at the movies, or even at church, chances are you'll hear something that will either make you blush, or turn your head in disbelief. It's called "conversational swearing". No longer are these words just used for dire circumstances, the article states that, it is a natural normal part of everyday speech.
Now, I am only a few years removed from my days of youth, give or take 10 - 15 years, and cursing is nothing new. However, had I or my friends been caught cursing, not only would we fear lightning bolts from the heavens, but the consequences from our parents (usually on our hind ends!).
I believe that this is the reason that cursing is so "accepted" today. Parents either don't care that their children sound like sailors (sailors always get a bad rap) or their scared to stand up to their children. Furthermore there are no consequences for this type of behavior.
However, I do agree with the article when it encourages Parents to teach their children the power of words and their irreversibility.
Ephesians 4:29 says "let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification".
Where does the responsibility lie? Already I have had to discipline my son for using words that I don't want him to use, but no doubt he has heard me use. Now I do not curse, but I am guilty of using 'fillers' in my speech that have just taken the place of curse words.
The article states that we should teach our children when we should use curse words and when we shouldn't, but I want to make another appeal... Teach them that cursing is wrong, even if it’s just a word we use in place of a curse word (If necessary use the right hand of fellowship or a paddle). Let our language glorify the One who gave us mouths to speak. When we use language that doesn't build people up, or represent what we say we believe, what does that make us?

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Ya! You Betcha!

Well it is three days past my return from Minnesota. I've been called crazy for visiting Minneapolis in February. I've gotten weird looks when I told people I was going to Minnesota for a pastor's conference with my Dad. People don't understand why I would travel across the country just to go hear some guys talk. Well here is my defense.
God told me to.
I know this may sound strange and I tried to talk my way out of going and reason why I shouldn't go but the Lord squashed every excuse that I could come up with, and instead of kicking against the goads, I went.
A funny thing Happened in Minnesota. God showed up!
Not to say we're not surrounded by Him where we live and have to leave home to find Him. But God does need to take us out of familiar surroundings and comforts in order for us to be able to hear his message and reveal His glorious plan. Just ask my Dad.
So, what was so great about this trip? I learned. I learned struggles that my dad and family had to go through. I learned why it is that I have been called to be a father to my son. I learned what it means to be a father to my kids at church, and I learned that in order to do what God has called me to do requires me to do hard things and to not pussyfoot out of them!
Our God is Awesome! I will forever remember my time with my Dad in Minnesota. I will remember what Crawford Lorrits said about being a pastor, and I will pattern my life in the manner that Gregg Harris shared about fathering, because that is why I was lead to Minnesota.
Am I crazy? Am I glad I went? Am I glad I went with my dad? Will I go again?
Ya! You Betcha!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Mmmm. Hmmm. Man Is That Some Good Eatin'!

Okay. If ever i have had to eat my words and thoughts I am doing it now. I went to the Acts 1:8 "challenge" last night and was totally blown away by their concept. The first words out of Dr. Gravette's mouth were "This is not a program, this is a lifestyle!"
For the first fifteen minutes I was cynical, wisecracking and utterly turned off in my thoughts as I listened to Dr. Gravettes' introduction. Then something happened. God spoke to me!
Wow! Do you know how awesome it is to have the word of God enter your thoughts and tell you something? It gives me chills.
So you want to know what God told me? This is it; : "Shut up and pay attention, You need to hear what this man is saying!"
Now not only did this give me chills, it also left me red faced and embarrassed. I am so grateful no one else heard it. I went to this conference with a preconceived idea that this was going to be another "program" and in six months when it didn't pan out we would move on to the "next program".
Actually The two men there from the GBC were a bit sarcastic about the "programs" over the past few years. These men, Dr. Mike Gravette and John Tarrer, were there to encourage pastors to get off their bum and do what the Lord commanded them to do. " Go ye therefore into Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the uttermost parts of the earth." He encouraged them to not only be concerned about their church but to actually be concerned about their neighbors, city, county, State, Country, Continent, and World. One statement that was said was "... as pastors what are you doing to bring others to Jesus Christ? Sitting in your office all week and visiting your members ain't doing it! You need to be out there reaching others for Christ no matter where you are." Wow what a concept!?!
All in all I was well pleased to eat my words. God opened my eyes and revealed my character as well as my heart. Through this conference God opened a door for me to do more through our association which is what I have been praying for. So whatdouyaknow , I guess this Acts 1:8 "challenge" really was a challenge to live your life according to what God has commanded.

Oh by the way, when my wife and I got in the van to head home, she said " See, I told you!"
AAAHHGGG! Thank you Lord!

Friday, January 18, 2008


Youth Ministry is dead. Kids are leaving the church in droves after graduation, never to darken the doors of the church again. Youth pastors are quitting in astonishing rates. Millions of Kids will grow up to become cynical, God hating citizens because the church has failed them. Where is God while this is happening? Whatever shall we do? ( I ask myself as I bite my nails.)

In my time this morning I was researching some book titles I had come across, deciding which one to invest in, I came across the book titled "reThink". I have not read the book nor do I plan on buying the book because the description from the publisher was pretty much like the above paragraph. The jest of the book is that the program hasn't been working so we're going to combat it with another type of program.( Man does this reek of the SBC or what. oops was that out loud?)
It goes to prove that everything can be solved by reading a book that has a "program" to battle the "program". The whole mentality that we will be different by - being just like everybody else.
I don't deny the fact that kids are leaving the church in droves, I don't deny the fact youth pastors are quitting at astonishing rates - I want to quit every week-, Neither do I disagree that kids are becoming cynical, God hating citizens because I have seen it happen.
So where is God while all of this is happening? Has he left the building? Uh Nope.
God is still on the throne, orchestrating every detail of our lives working all things according to His will.
Kids are leaving the church because they haven't been taught, they have been entertained. Youth pastors are leaving because it's fun for a while but real ministry doesn't happen on Sundays or Wednesdays, it happens on everyday.Kids become cynical and God hating because they see the hypocrisy going on in the church and in their parents lives. So what ever shall we do?
I know it's a foreign concept but, if you try it you'll see that it really works. Pray like your students life depends on it, cause it does. Don't entertain, let the word of God pull them in. God will draw them near to Him. He's faithful. Youth ministers, here's a concept. Do you want to have a successful ministry? It's not the program, It's the Kids. Invest your time in them. It's not easy and it takes all your time, but if God has called you to reach Kids, go after them not their attention span. As far as the Hypocrisy goes, wake up Parents and do you job it is not the job of the church to raise your kids, they see how you live and they model what is seen.

*** Disclaimer - I am not against the SBC I just don't agree with all of our practices.

Thursday, January 17, 2008


Last night was one of the most frustrating nights I've had on a Wednesday night class. I had worked for several days on a lesson that would explain and teach God's grace. By using the incident of the woman at the well I showed how regardless of what we've done or been involved with God still offers us His gift of forgiveness and grace. Now, I didn't expect the kids to fall all over themselves, and to hang on my every word, but I did expect them to at least acknowledge that they heard or understood what I was teaching. But did they.
One kid sat on a couch and tried to play "footsie" with some girl he hardly knows. Three other guys sat on a couch and made wisecracks and told inside jokes. Two other kids were texting on their phones. I had three individuals who were slumped down so far in their seat they could have been sleeping.
Now the classes I have taken on teaching tell me I shouldn't draw attention to misbehaving and shouldn't publicly correct them. Instead I should speak with them privately so not to damage their little self esteem. So I didn't yell at them but I didn't ignore them either. What I did do was give them the "look". Now when I was younger the "look" was just as deadly as a scolding. I would be terrified that someone was going to tell my father and it would be more than a look or scolding that I would get.
Did this tactic work? _ NOPE. So I have a solution. Next time its no holds barred, chairs are optional, it's time for a SMACKDOWN!
Just Kidding. But as I was thinking about it this morning I kept telling my self that they had missed a great lesson on grace. A lesson that they could use to explain to their friends what grace is. But instead as usual I got the lesson. I got a lesson in Mercy. See Mercy is not getting what we deserve, and by far I have been shown mercy.
So next week's lesson just may be on mercy and I'll continue to pray about how to keep control while giving a lesson.
Oh yea, there was this one girl who sat there the whole time and hung on every word I was saying. How about that God just taught me another lesson!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Saturday , in the park, ...

The forecast for Saturday was rain. Stormy, nasty, cloudy, depressing, I don't want to even get out of bed, rain. As I sat in my office early Saturday morning I noticed the Sun beginning to creep above the trees around 7:30. By 8:00 it was in its full glory. My wife who was sitting on the couch reading made the comment that it was supposed to be raining. SNAP. Did you hear that? It was an idea given to me, no doubt from God, that today was to be a special day! It was supposed to be raining. It was supposed to be dreary. But God, (AHH the beautiful buts of God) saw fit that we should not spend our day depressed and bound by the walls of our home. No we should do something together. Something that would make a memory and something that would last for eternity. Would we scale tall peaks? Maybe. Would we explore unknown worlds? We just might. Would we boldly go where no man has ever gone before? Probably not. But what we would do is go to the park. Yea you heard me, the park.
Now I know it doesn't sound like much but, you did not see the smile and glow come to my wife's face when I mentioned the plans I had for this very day. You did not see the twinkle in my son's eye or witness him do his little dance when he discovered that I would be taking him to the park and playing on the playground with him. No it doesn't sound like much, but a moment of imperfect clarity changed the outcome of an otherwise typical Saturday.
Thank you God for my family and thank you for the opportunity to take time to spend with them.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Got Net?

When Christ walked up to Peter and Andrew as they were casting their nets, He asked them to follow Him and they would catch so much more than fish.
Christ has done the same thing for us. He has asked us to follow Him and we would do well to follow Peter and Andrew's response.
Matthew 4: 20 says immediately they left their net and followed Him. No questions asked, no excuses. There was no hesitation. They knew in their"gut" that they needed to follow Him and they did.
We are constantly given opportunities to follow Christ and everyday we don't because we have a "net" that we're not willing to leave behind. That net is our security blanket. We know what the net will do for us and we put our trust in the net looking for it to provide us with the security and satisfaction that we are longing for. We all have a net and it does just what a net is meant to do. It traps us and ties us down.
Wednesday Night I appealed to my youth to leave their net at the altar. Give it up to God and follow His path and they would receive so much more than what they were holding on to.
God wants all of our very beings to follow Him. You can't follow Him and hold onto your net, it will keep dragging you down and restrain you from fully receiving what God has in store for you.
Got net? Give it to Jesus.