youth ministry

What do you want to be when you grow up?

photo

(Picture of my son running a video camera at CIY MIX. He is a youth coach for our middle school ministry)

This photo does two things to me: It makes me a proud dad... It strikes fear into my heart...

It makes me proud because my son is willing to listen and follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit for direction and calling in his life, because honestly who in their right mind wants to be a youth pastor (If you didn't know, I was a youth pastor for 18 years until just recently). I am proud because my son wants to be a kingdom worker, and be a servant-leader in the heart of Jesus.

It also strikes fear in my heart, because it reminds me that our kids pay attention to us and that time is short.

I have had the honor and privilege to be my son's youth pastor for almost all of his teens years (This is his senior year of high school and I jut recently moved to another ministry position at the church). He is graduating from high school this coming year and wants to head off to Ozark Christian College (My alma-mater), after he graduates, and begin the journey of being a youth pastor. My son has been observing me all these years, both at home and in my ministry.

He has observed my good side and my ugly side. He has seen when I get this follower of the way thing right and when I have fallen flat on m face.

I only hope that I have been an exemplary example to him; someone who has demonstrated a dependency on the power of the Holy Spirit and the desire to be a reflection of Jesus to my neighbors... I hope I uplifted Jesus and not myself. He is following in my footsteps, I only hope I was a good model for him.

As mentioned, my son is a senior in high school and in about nine short months he will be heading off to college and begin his own journey of what God has called him to. Who knows he might find a wife and begin a family, he might permanently move to another state or even another country, or he might realize God has put different calling on his life and pursue that.

What I know is that in a blink of an eye he has matured to become an independent young adult who is following his own path, with his own hopes and dreams that the Lord has laid on his heart... It seems like yesterday that my son and I were rolling on the ground wrestling each, and of course I let him win... NOT.

What this all boils down to is legacy. As parents, we need to remember that the focal point of our legacy should not be ourselves, our hopes, dreams, and desires, but it should be *us* following Jesus to the best of our ability, and displaying to our kids the grace that God gives us when we have victories or when we fail.

Our kids are watching us. Who are you modeling to your kids?

Conversation on Acts-like insurrection strategy...

Recently, I posted about a conversation a few others were having about a new strategy for discipleship and church growth (the original posted can be found here Adam McLane). Within the blog post and ensuing conversation, I commented some of my thoughts to the blogger of the original post... I thought it would be helpful if I shared my thoughts on the conversation. Also, this whole conversation started with a blog post he did on reaching parents of students - The Parent Gap. Below is what I posted in the comment area in response to Adam McLane's blog post on finding a new strategy...

"As a church, we have been praying and thinking about the command by Jesus to in-short “love God and love our neighbors.” Through this, it has caused us to rethink the how we do church, our measurements for success i.e. “wins” and over-all strategy. We are nowhere near having things figured out, but the conversation of being the best neighbor our neighbors have ever had, and loving our neighbors not because we want them to be Christians, but because we are Christians have caused us to have deeper discussions of how church would look different, be different, and act different.

I recently launched a home Bible study this summer in my house for high school students. The book we are studying is the book of Acts. I started off the study by telling the 30 high school students it would be great that if one day “soon”, they were the ones leading a Bible study like this in their homes, neighborhoods, and schools and not me! One student said, “then we would be doing your job and the job of our adult leaders. You would be out of a job!” My response was that it would be great if that happened, because then they would all be doing what Jesus commanded and that is to make disciples, and not just me doing it…

Its hard for those of us who are paid staff to think about “new strategy’s” for church, because it can cause disruption and uncertainty in our own lives and livelihood. I have been on staff as a youth pastor on a couple of mega-churches, and I am currently on staff at a mega-church. I know the leaderships' heart is to make disciples, and to see people fulfill the command of Jesus in Matthew 28:18-20. However, realizing that discipleship really begins with depth, which leads to numerical growth, and not the other way around can be daunting and paralyzing for churches of all sizes… It is a cultural thing in many ways.

One of the commentators above stated this about the America church, “They are looking for ways to “keep” people in church, upping their numbers. The church in America has basically been stagnant for decades.” This can true for many churches and staff persons in the U.S.. However, I am encouraged by bloggers such as yourself, others, and conversations similar to this that are popping up all over the country. I am excited that the Father seems to be moving in the U.S church and the hearts of His people, both big and small to realize His plan for the kingdom."

I hope by sharing this with you, we can continue the conversation and seek to BE the church and not just play church..