Monday, April 30, 2007

Monday ramblings...

It took me almost 45 minutes to get through all my emails this morning after missing last week. And that doesn't count the 5 or 6 I picked up last Thursday. But I don't regret ignoring my emails last week while at retreat. After all, it is a "retreat".

Last week reminded me of how much of an introvert I really am. I would die without regular time to my space. I think the world of the other YP's in the district, but all week I wrestled with a feeling of "I don't really fit in here". I'm not sure if that is normal...

Now I'm eating supper in my office as I wait for my middle schoolers to show up in a couple of hours. I wonder how the evening will go.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Play guitar like this...

While I am still contemplating the future post that will turn the blogging world on its head, I must post this. I stumbled across it today in my semi-monthly YouTube wanderings. The guy's name is Erik Mongrain, a Montrealer who taught himself to play the guitar and basically made a name for himself by playing on the streets and in subways. Wow...

Sunday, April 22, 2007


It's that time of year again. The annual district youth pastor's retreat. It should be good. It'll be nice to have some time with no "normal" student ministry responsibilities. It'll be fun to reconnect with some old friends. I'm also leading worship, which should be interesting given that I have absolutely no clue what most everyone else is singing these days. Is Kumbayah current?

But, I will miss a variety of things...
  • My wife and my kids
  • My bed
  • Champion's League football (I hope I can find wireless internet)
  • My bike, TV and computer (I know...I'm hopeless)
  • My wife and my kids (wait a sec...did I already mention that?)

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Not a dot com...

I apologize for 2 posts in a row about student ministry. It goes against my nature to speak for too long on one subject unless it's talking to my students. I'm sure they wish that I would shut up earlier some times.

So, now on to another completely different topic: American Idol. My thoughts? I'll keep them to my self for fear of looking like more of a dork than I already have confessed to be. But the kid that can't sing that keeps on winning is cracking me up!

Also, I'm pondering the possibility of a future profound post that will rock the blogging world. Much like this one by a pastor's wife I know or this one by a friend who says lots of smart stuff that I would never even be able to come up with, or this one by another friend who uses a word I've never even heard of to talk about something I've also experienced.

You would be well advised to watch this space...

Monday, April 16, 2007

Longevity in YM (Part 2)...

As previously stated, here is the conclusion of the list I began last week.
7. Serve Outside the Youth Ministry
You get paid to do this, so do something else that’s not youth related. If you want to last you also need to be serving. Be a volunteer in the nursery, play on a worship team, set up chairs or run sound. Just don’t call it “work”.

8. Have An Outlet
If you don’t’ have some sort of outlet outside the ministry, it will eat you alive. It doesn’t matter if it’s youth or seniors, you can’t focus on it all the time. Play soccer or golf or any other sport, build a car, take up crochet. You need to do something outside of the church if you want to last. Oh, and talking to students online doesn’t count!

9. Be Willing to Make Some Sacrifices
If you aren’t flexible to some degree, you’ll have trouble lasting. This doesn’t mean you don’t have boundaries, because you, your family and your students need those. But it does mean that you will have to attend the occasional school play on a night off. It does mean that you may have to say sacrifice a great concert at the church to be with your family. It does mean your weekly schedule will never look the same the next week. To last, you will have to make some sacrifices.

10. Communicate
Learn to communicate, communicate and then communicate some more. And then when you tell everyone what’s going on, tell them two more times. If you want to last you need to learn how to tell people what is going on. And you need to be aware that most people don’t read the bulletin, check emails, visit the website or listen to their voice mail, so you may need to be creative.

11. Learn To Say “No”
If you can’t say “no”, you will be eaten alive by anything and everything that moves within the walls of your church. You may have to say “no” to some good stuff too. It may be saying “no” to a certain speaker that wants to talk to the youth because the topic won’t fit or the speaker won’t fit. It may mean saying “no” to a student’s phone call so you can spend time with your family. If you want to last you need to learn how to say “no”. And you’ll need to learn how to say it with conviction!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Longevity in YM (Part 1)...

I got a call this week from a college student who was looking for someone who had been in youth ministry for more than five years. I guess I qualified. I've been doing this full-time for 7 years, but working with students for almost 12. He was looking for 10 keys to longevity (I provided 11 so I would appear smart) when working with students.

I'll admit that most of this list isn't new. In fact, most of it is probably covered in every good youth ministry book ever written, but it's stuff that I've tried to put in place or stuff I'm trying to put in place, and it seems to be working. Here's part of what what I sent him. I'll save the rest for next week.

1. Be Willing to Learn
This involves being a student of students. You need to know who you’re trying to serve. This requires attending classes, seminars, courses, speaking events, movies and anything else that deals with students (ie– what they do/listen to; how to reach them; how to help them, how to understand them, etc). If you don’t learn, you won’t get better at what you do and you won’t last.

2. Read Lots
And don’t just read about youth ministry. Try to wrap your brain around other things and other ministries—even things you don’t particularly care for or understand. Remember that we are training students who will one day be leading our other ministries in church. It helps to know what we can do to train them for that. And it helps to know what’s going on around us. And lastly, it makes you look like you know what you’re doing when you’re reading books that other non-youth workers are reading!

3. Hang Out With Adults
Someone once told me that I should spend an hour in meaningful conversation with people my own age for every hour I spend with students (it was likely Marv Penner). Students, while a focus of my world, shouldn’t be my entire world. I need to remember that I am an adult and that adolescence is temporary. I cannot live in the world of teenagers without it affecting me somehow, so I need something to balance it.

4. Don’t Stoop to Cheap Tricks and Gimmicks
The minute I try to compete with iPods, cell phones, parties, TV, Hollywood and Disneyland...I will lose. Don’t try to get students with gimmicks. They’ll take the freebies but it won’t bring about any lasting growth. If I’m all about the “cool factor”, I won’t last.

5. Preach the Word
Keep yourself grounded in the Word and keep preaching the truth of the Word and you’ll likely be ok (I’ll admit that you’re never completely safe). The troubles tend to arise on the extra commentaries that so many people try to force on Scripture. Sure, there’s a time and place for adding your two cents, but let’s remember that the Bible IS the Word of God and what you and I say isn’t. Keep it truthful!

6. Know Your Elders & Your Senior Pastor
Spend time getting to know your elders and who they are and what they are about. Genuinely care about then, pray for them, encourage them and support them. Even, dare I say it, hang out with them! If you want to last, you will want to have as many of them as possible in your corner.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

A picture worth a 1000 words...

Last week was horrible for my teams of choice in the sporting world, but today was another story. United headed home to Old Trafford to host Roma after losing the first game 2-1. And United came out to play. This was the definition of a clinic. Perfect passes, passionate tackles, precise crosses, timely runs and beautiful goals.

And now it's on to the semi-finals. If only we can avoid Chelsea until the very end. I think the Premier League coming down to a United-Chelsea game and the Champions League coming down to a United-Chelsea would be such a gut-wrenching yet somewhat appealing stage of events.

Although, I will admit I'll shout like there's no tomorrow if Chelsea were to drop out of either race any sooner!

Free of charge randomness...

I was in the midst of working on tomorrow night's message for our high schoolers when my brain decided to call it a day. It's actually kind of a good sign. Usually I'm interrupted every 20-30 minutes (and I'm not even that important!), but today I've been plugging away since 11:30 sans interrupts. But apparently, my brain isn't use to this and thus needs a change of pace.

So, in honor of this mid-afternoon sabbatical I offer you this randomness free of charge :
  • My wife sent me one of those "send this to 10 of your friends" emails.
  • I drank a can of caffeine free Coke.
  • I cleaned up my blog list...apparently some people have stopped blogging.
  • I can't decide which book to read next (Driscoll or McKinley). Please help...
  • My student worship team is leading worship in the service this Sunday.
  • "Everybody knows it sucks to grow up" (Ben Folds in "Still Fighting It")
  • I was awaken from dreamland at the butt-crack of dawn to scope out a mysterious crashing noise in the was apparently my son. I'm still not entirely sure but I do know that my sleep did not return for at least 90 minutes.
  • I think we need another vehicle.
  • I'm behind on 24.
  • I've been approached by someone writing a paper/article/something about the keys to longevity in youth ministry. any ideas?
Ok, that's's now time to hit the books.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Dear Church...

I'll admit that I've been disillusioned with the church. Sometimes I still am. In fact, just the other day...ahhh...nevermind.

This book by Sarah Cunningham ( sums up so well what I and many of my generational counterparts have felt about the church lately. And while she speaks loudly on behalf of the disillusioned generation, she doesn't let this become what I've heard Philip Yancey describe as a "ritual lament".

At moments I would be thinking "Yes! Let 'em have it." and then the next moment I'm being challenged and wondering what my whole role is going to be. What part will I play in helping the church adjust to a new generation of Jesus-followers? Provided, of course, that it needs some adjusting.

I'm thinking this would be a great book to work through with some similarly-minded people. To hear if the ideas and thoughts resonate with anyone else. To see if this could push/encourage/empower/motivate the disillusioned to start doing something instead of constantly running away. And you have to admit that our generation runs away from the church a lot, right?

But why do we do it? Why don't we stick it out? In fact why do so many people play the "do it my way or I'll leave" card? Why has leaving (or abandoning) the church become so normal?

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Dwight highlight 3...

It's Easter and this is the best I can come up with?

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Bad sports day...

Last chance for the playoffs this year and we choke with a 6-5 loss? Yeah, not exactly a display in defensive prowness. And not exactly the Dryden/Roy-esque performance that I was hoping for.

A natural hat trick from Ryder, Huet stopping something like 25 shots in the first period alone, and a 5-3 lead at one point just wasn't enough.

Now who am I supposed to cheer for?

Another loss...

United lost again today...sigh...

On the heels of a midweek defeat against Roma in the Champions League, this has not been a good week football wise. Yeah, I know any away goal at Roma is a good thing, but a loss is always hard to take.

I'm really hoping that my Habs can pull off a big victory against those Leafs tonight. But I'll admit that I'm not exactly the most confident right now. The road hasn't been good to us lately, ACC hasn't been good to us...and it should be interesting to see if Huet gets the start. He'll have something to prove. Maybe we'll get a Dryden-esque or Roy-esque performance out of him tonight. The countdown is on.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Random Thursday post...

I'm bored, therefore I post.
This show cracks me up. Sure, not the greatest character development, but David Spades' sarcasm and Patrick Warburton's dry humor make the show. But it'll probably get cancelled. Most shows I like get cancelled. MacGyver, Hidden Hills, Boomtown, Albert the 5th Musketeer...

When will it end...

Here's yet another case of violence off the pitch at a football game. This is getting ridiculous and it needs to stop.

I truly believe that football is a beautiful game. But these moments do not make it look like that to the rest of the world who doesn't seem to appreciate the game as it is.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

And now April...

I thought March might have been the month of blogging where I could have beaten my single month posting record. But then life happened and well...the record did not.

I am currently watching another Leaf's game...don't worry, I do have a good excuse for watching them play twice in the last 24 hours. I want NEED them to lose. With the battle for a playoff spot in the East going down to the wire, my Habs need to win all their game while the blue and white drops game after game. And while last night I spent 3 periods and overtime as a Penguins fan, today I am a rangers fan. Although I'd really rather that they both loss.

Next Saturday will be a big night as the Habs and the Leafs come face to face. I only hope I'm on the winning side.