Monday, August 11, 2008

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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?