Rollercoaster ministry


The roller coaster of emotion. Maybe you've experienced. It seems that as a youth minister, with everything that we deal with and all the disappointment we see, experience and hear about that we live and die with our kids. Do you notice how your heart breaks when a kid shares a struggle with you, or they share some disappointing news, or you learn that a kid is struggling to survive becaus of a bad divorce?

Lately, I have been wondering what kind of impact are we having on kids? I mean we spend all the time, energy, late nights, shed tears, pray constantly for our kids, what effect is it having? Before you write me off as a pessimist because I am questioning our impact, I am being real. Any one else ought there get so discouraged about what we do, and how messed up our world is that you consider transitioning out of youth ministry into a secular job?

Please tell me I am normal. Even though we hurt for our kids and at times have our hearts stepped on, and often we are misunderstood, I am not giving up my passion for youth ministry or sharing the Gospel with them. I am just noticing how ministering to kids is more of an uphill battle than maybe I realized.

How do you deal with disappointment, frustration in ministry and particularly to adolescents?

Big Responsibility


Last night in my middle school boys small group we were discussing the story of Joseph. I read the part of the story, found in Genesis 37:2-11. It is the section in which Joseph angers his brothers and father by sharing with them the dreams he had been having. Dreams that suggested that someday they would all bow down to him.

I then asked if they remembered the rest of the story and could recount it for us. One of the guys quickly spoke up and shared how Joseph was then taken by his brothers, who then staged his death (eaten by a lion), and then thrown into a well, in which he then floated downstream in the underground river to Egypt where he was sold into slavery.

That isn't quite the way my Bible tells the story but it sure made for a good one! Are there underground rivers that flow from wells? Love it!

I am thankful for the responsibility of discipling these young guys yet, I am also reminded of the seriousness of leading young people in Jesus' strong words found in Matthew 18:5-6. As well as the words of James, "Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly." James 3:1

May we always be found worthy and responsible.

Born Again?


Saw the following - What do you think?

“PEOPLE WHO CALL themselves “Christian” hold a wide variety of beliefs, according to a national survey conducted by the Barna Group in October 2005. While 80 percent of American adults call themselves “Christian,” 68 percent would also describe themselves as “a committed Christian.” Fewer than half—45 percent—adopt the phrase “born-again Christian.”

Barna also asked about a two-part definition of a person’s faith that the research organization has consistently used to describe “born-again” people without actually using the term, in which they say they “have made a personal commitment to Jesus Christ that is still important” and in which they claim they will go to Heaven after they die because they have confessed their sins and accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior. That definition was claimed by less than half the respondents (44 percent).

One-quarter of those who call themselves born again did not meet the Barna criteria for born again. According to Barna, that finding generally indicates these people rely upon something other than God’s grace as their means to salvation.

Blacks were the ethnic group that used the generic “born-again” term most, with 75 percent embracing it, compared to 31 percent of Hispanics and 44 percent of whites. While only 14 percent of Roman Catholics were comfortable describing themselves as “born-again,” 23 percent actually fit Barna’s definition of the term.

The telephone survey among a random sample of 1,002 adults has a 3.2 percent margin of error.
—The Barna Group (, November 25

30 Hour Famine


Does your ministry participate in the 30 Hour Famine? Our group has been doing it for many years and it always proves to be an extremely impactful event. I believe nothing brings a group of students, or anyone for that matter, into tight community like a service oriented event. This one does it!

The beauty of the 30 Hour Famine is it helps students take their eyes off of themselves and onto the many in our world that are in desperate need. With 29,000 children dying each day of hunger and hunger related causes it can seem overwhelming and may cause us to think there is nothing we can do, but there is, and the 30 Hour Famine is one of those things.

If you have not considered being a part of this incredible event I encourage you to give it a look.

If you have done the event what are some ideas, programs, activities, etc. you have used? Does your group do a service project? If so, what have you done? It would be great to share ideas here!

When the van won't start...


"Be still and know that I am God..." (Psalm 46:10)

A word from the Word: Read Psalm 46 and Mark 4:35-41
"God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble" (Psalm 46:1)

The holidays and a busy travel schedule has kept me on the go. I am slowing down a bit, at least for a short time, so I wanted to resume our time together in God's Word. I hope your holidays were great and that your New Year has gotten off to a good start.

This weekend, our youth group and I am some amazing chaperones went to Arlington, Texas for a big youth rally. I love Winterfest and this year I believe was my 7th or 8th year of going as a sponsor or as a group leader. The kids that have gone before have been my biggest advertisement, and so we had quite a few new faces and the same could be said for my adults who give up their weekend to go with us.

Everyone began arriving at church on Friday afternoon, bags were packed, sandwiches were made, the trailer was hooked up, the vans had gas, we circled in prayer, and then Satan began to attempt to unravel our weekend before it really began. One of our vans wouldn't turn over. I had just taken it moments before to the gas station, and now it wouldn't start. We were able to swap out vans, and then when we stopped to eat our early dinner, we somehow forgot to pack half of our sandwiches. It's gets better, when we finally arrive at the convention center, we were actually 20 minutes early, all the kids and sponsors went to the first evening session and I went to get our hotel rooms. I didn't have enough credit on my church card to cover all ten of our rooms. Thankfully, I had another card.

After the evening activites were done, we all were going to go back to our suite for a devotional and some instructions in the morning. As I was preparing to order for pizza for some starving kids, a sponsor had called me and reported she and her girls were harassed by one of the hotel's security guards.

After putting out some small fires, I arrived in our devotional room 30 minutes late, and was greeted by one young high schooler, who was hungry and tired and asked for food. I was ready to pull my hair out, I guess his request was the straw that broke the camels back.

I write all of that to remind you what I was reminded of again...

God is in control. His plans are always best, and no matter what we experience our troubles are light and momentary. This weekend turned out to be one of the best weekends at Winterfest I have ever been a part of. The times of worship were great, the responses of the kids in our group who were moved by the Spirit to either accept Jesus or renew their faith was great.

I was reminded that Jesus turns messes into beautiful works of art. When things don't go the way we plan or intend for them to go, we shouldn't lose sleep over those things. I was forced to grapple with whether or not I would trust that God would take care of things or not. He always takes care of things.

I share this incident from our past weekend, because I know you have dealt with similar moments. When the car breaks down, or the unexpected bill comes that you can't pay. We all have those moments when we feel like we are on a storm tossed sea and our Jesus is asleep in the stern. We stress out over the waves and the force of the wind. But we forget that we aren't traveling alone. Jesus Christ not only goes with us, He speaks peace over our lives when we aren't able to handle what comes are way.

So, if you had a weekend like mine. Spend some time today, reading Mark 4 and Psalm 46 and be reminded of who is in charge. Life runs smoother when we let God run things. Amen.

New Team Member


I would like to say "welcome," to our newest team member. Rick O' Dell comes to us with many years in youth ministry and works with a great church in Colorado. Welcome aboard brother. We are looking forward to hearing from you.

Following up


Some have been to Winferfest already, others of us are looking toward events in which some of our students will make decisions. What are some things you do to consistently follow up on decisions students make such as committing their lives to Christ, redecicating themselves, asking for prayers in areas they struggle? It's one of the most difficult aspects of what I try to do and I'm not effective at all in this area.

When just one church isn't enough


Neela Banerjee, a writerfor the New Your Times wrote an article that ran in yesterday's Religion section of the Houston Chronicle about teenagers attending multiple churches. What are your thoughts or observations in your settings?

Best Quote from NCYM


"Christians are like manure. Pile it up and it just stinks to high heaven. Spread it around and it fertilizes whole fields." (taken from Rubel Shelly)

Though not the most flattering metaphor, it probably hits many of our ministries pretty hard. We've been talking about resolutions recently...I resolve to be more of a fertilizer this year...instead of a stinker!



So as a new year approaches, so does assessment and goals.

So how would you evaluate your ministries?

I don't do resolutions that well.

Happy New Year!


2006 is here. I am sure like many of you, my wife and I watched the ball drop. It was sad seeing Dick Clark in the condition he was in. But, the New Year celebration isn't the same without him.

With the New Year comes the chance to think about some goals, or resolutions for this new year. What are yours? I would be interested in hearing from you to see what your resolutions for '06 are.

Here are mine:
1. to deepen my relationship with Christ (getting in the Word more, and on my knees more)
2. to love my wife more deeply and compassionately
3. to be the best daddy to the two most wonderful girls in the world
4. to be a better youth minister
5. to be a better friend
6. to love those who are sometimes the most difficult to love
7. to lose weight, to exercise, and take care of my body
8. to be a better blogger.

Happy New Year to all of you. May 2006 be a year of many blessings and a year of going deeper into the heart of Christ.

Team Members

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