Tuesday, December 16, 2008

2008 Honor Academy Staff Christmas Party

Last night we had our annual Honor Academy Staff Christmas Party. We had a great time as we did a white elephant gift exchange and had some great food.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

My Kids at the zoo and at church

Here is a quick video of our kids at the zoo and at church

Friday, December 12, 2008

Funny video

I was thinking recently what if people in my youth group made a parody of me as a youth pastor. What would they say and what video would they make of me? I would hope it would not look like the video below :0)

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Funny video

This is a comedian talking about the attempt to take "under God" out of the Pledge of Allegiance. Enjoy!

Monday, December 08, 2008

Dream.

Dream.

As a Part Time YP, I often am working on the day to day details of leading the youth group that I forget to do this one thing.
Dream.

I am focusing on loving the students I interact with and hearing their stories that I sometimes forget to wonder what could happen to next years students.
Dreaming.

Why is it that it is easier to focus on the present and not plan for the future?
Dream.

Why can I be planning for this week’s message and not be planning for next March’s theme?
Dream

I meet with students and hear their struggles, victories, weaknesses, and successes and usually don’t think about what God is going to do as they go through those valley’s and mountain tops.

Dreamers.

Yes, I must get around other dreamers so that I will be a forward thinker and not just focused on the present.

Let's all dream today!

Friday, December 05, 2008

Teen Perspectives


Today I’ll be interviewing

Devin Orrick-Martin

She’s 18 and loves tea, art, music,
computers, and worship.

Let’s see what she has to say:

What were the best topics your YP taught on?

He hit on a lot of basic issues that teens face every day, then gave us the Bible’s perspective on it.

The biggest issue he addressed was drugs. He would basically say, “this is the real issue – look at what these things do to your body! You’re harming yourself when you use drugs, and the Bible says that we shouldn’t harm our bodies.”
Did you youth group do any mission trips or outreaches?

We were always involved in community service. Our YP was big on servant-hood.
And he always taught us that if we serve others, like Christ came to serve, we’d really impact people. A lot of the kids in our youth group would come with stories about how their actions influenced others. They’d talk about how their friends would ask them why they acted so different than everyone else, giving them an open door to share the Gospel.

My youth pastor would let these people share their testimonies in front of the youth group. That made such a huge impact on me. It was so encouraging to know that I’m not fighting this battle alone, but there are others who are trying to make a difference too.
What kind of relationship did your YP have with his wife?

They were really close. She was very involved with our youth group. I think their love for each other really influenced us a lot. Whenever conversations about relationships came up, they would share from their own experiences. They did a great job of not just telling us what’s best, but showing that to us. My standards for guys have been raised by the great husband my YP was.

YP’s need to realize that the teens look up to them a lot. Whenever I found myself in a hard spot, I’d always go and talk to my YP. So when a YP lives out their life as a good example for their teens, it shows in the lives of the teens following them.

The Bible says that teachers will be held to the highest standards. YP’s need to hold themselves to that standard so they can have the best possible influence on their youth group.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Top Web Searches for 2008

Here is an interesting page showing the top web searches for 2008.

As you look at all of this, what names/groups/sites do you wish people were searching for instead? Think about what we as youth workers search for. This is another sobering statistic about how people are spending their time.

http://buzz.yahoo.com/yearinreview2008/top10/

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

"Bad" Christian Music

I found one more video of "bad" Christian music from the 1970's. Enjoy!

Monday, December 01, 2008

Thanksgiving 2008

I spent Thanksgiving up in Tulsa. Here are some pics from this great time.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Why I Haven’t Quit Being a Youth Pastor

It was five years ago that the Youth Pastor sat me down and asked me if I would be willing to take over the Youth Pastor job, as he was going to England to be a missionary. Five years later I am still the YP. Here’s why I am still involved in the youth ministry and why I still enjoy it:

1. Students worshipping the Lord

What an incredible experience it is to go into a room full of teenagers and see them worshipping the Lord and encountering the presence of the Lord in their lives! I never get tired of seeing them pondering who God is and seeking Him for their own life.
2. Teens owning their faith

To sit with a teenager or hear them share with the entire group how they are sharing their faith or living out their faith is incredible. I love to hear it. It challenges me in my own faith to grow more and more with the Father.
3. Longevity as a Youth Pastor is critical in the lives of teens

I see each year as a YP that the more I grow in relationships with the teens, the more I gain their trust. I can’t imagine staying as a YP for a year and then going to the next church. Teens want consistency. I want consistency. Consistency as a YP is probably more important than what is taught. Consistency = faithfulness.

4. My free time is all about the teens

Being a YP demands that I use my free time to build relationships and grow in my own relationship with the Lord. I am constantly thinking about how I can use my free time to benefits the lives of my teens.
5. A Great Pastor and Elders

Having a supportive Pastor and Elders makes my position as a YP enjoyable. I could not be the YP I am without their support.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Teen Perspectives

This week I’ll be interviewing….



Stella Cordova

She loves music, reading, writing, meeting new
people, and talking with hurting people to bring them comfort.

Let’s see what she has to say:

1. Looking back, what things do you wish your YP focused on?


I wish he had focused more on the hardships that we dealt with. It’s not common to talk about saving sex for marriage, or depression, or drug abuse, but it’s destroying our generation and killing our youth. The church isn’t talking about it even though it’s something we are really struggling with. We need someone to tell us about it and help us fight it.

I also wish that he had been more open and welcoming to us and that he worked harder at building relationships with us. That’s crucial to the youth. If someone is in their youth group for a month or two and all they know is their name, that’s really sad. My YP never really talked to us individually or tried to get to know us. He was kind of a “Wednesday-night” Youth Pastor, he’d show up for his half hour and that was it.

2. Did your YP have any policies on secular music or dating?


No. I wish they did though. Many of the youth leaders would listen to secular music on a daily basis and you could see that in the way they lived. A lot of them ended up being asked to step down because they had become pregnant or had gotten someone pregnant outside of marriage. Our Assistant YP actually had premarital sex and ended up marrying the girl because he got her pregnant. Our treasurer married this guy she didn’t even love because she had a child with him but they ended up getting a divorce.

Dating can be a touchy subject but it needs to be talked about; it can save someone’s life – and their purity.

If the church doesn’t speak up, where else are we going to learn about purity?


3. How did it affect you to have your leaders fall into sexual sin?


It really affected us all. The youth group broke up after that. My YP had a good relationship with Christ and then he fell and it was really hard for all of us to handle. A lot of us thought that if he couldn’t do it then we can’t do it. It made me feel like I had no hope or chance.

4. Did your youth group go on any missions trips? If so, how did it impact you and your youth group?


The youth group specifically didn’t have any missions trips, but the church did and they encouraged the youth to attend. Some of the youth went and it affected their lives dramatically.

There was one guy who was very coldhearted and bitter, but he went on this two week missions trip and the Lord completely moved in his life. Before he didn’t like talking to people but after the trip he would reach out to others and talk to them. He had joy and compassion and you could just tell that God had totally changed
him.


5. How did the youth ministry cause you to grow more in love with God?


The worship. My youth group focused a lot on Christian music and worshipping the Lord. Music is such a big part of my life so the worship really helped to lead me to Christian artists and away from secular ones.

The first ATF I went to was with my Youth Group. That was like the first time I had been exposed to Christian music. Since then I haven’t listened to secular music.


6. If you could tell the YP’s of today something, what is it that you think they need to hear?


I would tell them not to lose hope. Stay encouraged and encourage your youth group. Be involved in our lives and in what we’re struggling in and dealing with. We are looking for direction. Help us by taking your place in leadership and becoming the leader that God has called you to be. Your youth group and this generation as a whole are in desperate need of you. And remember that great things always come from things that take a lot of hard work.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

David Crowder does Jesus is a Friend of Mine

While the video of "Jesus is a Friend of Mine" went throughout the blogosphere a few months ago, David Crowder decided to do his own rendition of the song.

Enjoy,


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Encouraging Your Worship Leader


I am privileged enough to have a worship band in the youth ministry as well as an excellent worship leader. I have had 3 worship leaders during my 5 years as a Youth Pastor. Here are some things I have done to encourage my worship leader.


1. Give them feedback

My current leader just started leading a few months ago and several times she has asked me how she is diong. Worship leaders are looking for feedback and looking for it often.

2. Let them see you worshipping
I can't think of anything worse than a worship leader looking out at the crowd and seeing the Youth Pastor looking back at them with no expression or not worshipping with the rest of the group. When your worship leader is singing, make sure you are too. If your worship leader gives direction to the group, make sure you are responding to their direction.


3. Talk about them to your students often
When I get around the students one-on-one, I talk very favorably about my worship leader. When I have had the transition from the old worship leader to the new one, I have always had some of the teens comment about how they like the previous style, how they sang, etc. It is my job as the Youth Pastor to listen to them and then re-focus them on the great gifts our new worship leader has and how God has brought them to lead us in worshipping the Lord.


4. Publicly praise them
Whenever you get the chance, publicly share with the group of teens why you appreciate your worship leader.


Here are just a few ways we as Youth Pastors can encourage our worship leaders so they will be nourished as they lead us into the presence of God.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

What did they say?

I have a cell phone. It is the kind that receives email so I mostly email people. The problem with emailing is that I mostly email other "30-somethings". Teenagers focus on texting. That is what they do. If you are wondering what all of those texting words and slangs mean, I have the website for you. It will decode all of those texts they are sending you and/or other teenagers. I am going to go and check it out now and learn a thing or two.

Enjoy,
http://www.teenchatdecoder.com/

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Zach's 6th Birthday Party

Here is my son Zach celebrating with his friends at his birthday party.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Teen Perspectives

Today I'll be interviewing


Jessica Scull

She enjoys talking with people and going to the beach with
friends back home in CA!



Let's see what she has to say:


What subjects do you wish your YP had spoken about at Youth Group?


Self Worth, end-times, the church being the bride, and how defeating sin in your life is a process! I wish he taught more about how the devil is real, and has come to kill, steal and destroy! My YP talked about a lot of the things we do wrong as teens in America, and how God feels about it. But it wasn’t effective. He just told us what we were doing wrong, but never told us how to change. We felt really condemned. I wish he would have also explained how to make things right.


Did your YP talk about dating?

No. But they need to talk about it and not avoid it. It’s not just your personal view on dating – we need to know what the Bible says. I have only been a Christian for two years. I was dating an atheist about six months after I gave my life to the Lord – no one even told me that was wrong. I needed godly women around me and I didn’t have that. I needed a YP to talk about godly relationships and dating.


What are some things you'd like your YP to know?

The importance of personal invitations: Some people don't come to Youth Group because they don't feel as though anyone has ever reached out to them. Of course everyone is welcomed if they come, but some people want a personal invitation. They want to feel like they’re wanted.

The importance of loving confrontation and follow up: Some also didn’t come because they were going just to be impressed and entertained , they weren't going to seek God. That’s something our youth group just wasn’t doing – even as individuals. Their hearts were in the wrong, but no one called them out on their bad attitudes either. A lot of them just stopped going - but no one followed up with them.

The importance of peer leadership: I think if the peer leaders were aware of the situations going on in youth group and prayed about it together that they would be really effective. I know the YP can't do everything, so if they helped to address some of the issues I think it would be different. I would have like my YP to push us to be leaders more.


Final thoughts:

Youth groups are very important, and I think they should be taken more seriously. Most churches from what I know have a new YP every year, which shows a lack of commitment. That speaks volumes to teenagers. High school years are extremely difficult and they have a lot of different influences around them! I want people to make a big deal out of them and spend more time in prayer for their students!


Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Happiest Job in the World

Why am I so happy to be working with young people? This articles proves it.

This new study shows that the number one job in America is...


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Curriculum Review

As a Youth Pastor I have read and gone through several youth ministry books and curriculums. I have enjoyed many of them. One that has really challenged me to plan and prepare for the youth ministry that I am part of is the Double Vision Curriculum. This course is written by Ron Luce and chronicles the systems he has used to run the ministry of Teen Mania. He uses his example as an outline for every youth pastor to use as far as the nuts and bolts of running their youth ministry.
The book has so many practical ideas and gives many templates for you to write out your own objectives, goals, strategies, and measures. I went through the curriculum almost 3 years ago, and I really need to go through it again to hone what my ministry is about and what God really wants to do through it. I would encourage you to check it out. It is a valuable resource.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Jesus Loves You???

Another round of Christian Music from many years ago...WOW!


Monday, November 10, 2008

Marketing Starbucks Like Church

From my perspective as a Youth Pastor, I watched this video thinking over what elements parallel to things I currently do in our youth ministry. I laughed when the couple went up to the cash register and the "barista" asked if this was their first time at a coffee shop. They raised their hand, and everybody clapped.

As I laughed, I considered how I greet the guests at our youth ministry. I have been greeting them primarily the same way for the last 4 years. How do you greet your guests? Is it time for you to start changing the way you greet them? What is the best way you have ever been greeted at a church gathering?

Enjoy the video as you think about your guests.



Friday, October 31, 2008

Teen Perspectives

Today I'll be interviewing

Colin Conn

He likes to play guitar, ultimate frisbee, and eat
at buffets

Let's see what he has to say:

What three questions do you wish your YP or youth workers would have asked the teens in your youth group?
    • Questions that pin-point where a teen’s faith lies – holding them accountable to
      their walk with God. Like, “What did you read in the Bible this week?”
    • “What can I pray for you for?” It’s great to know someone’s there for you.
    • Also, so many teens have questions they want to ask, but they don’t feel comfortable
      asking them. There are so many things we’d like answers to – like dating, family
      problems, etc. If YP’s or youth workers just simply ask, “Do you have any
      questions for me?” it would open the door for the teens to ask those
      uncomfortable questions.

What is one thing YP’s don’t understand about public high school today?

The academic standards are set so low. Nothing is expected from even students like me who are in honors courses. We aren’t pushed to a high work ethic. I wish my teachers would have set a higher standard for me.

I didn’t go to public school all of my life, but I switched so I could be around more people. And once I got there I realized that I wasn’t surrounded by any solid Christian friends. The academics were such a waste of time too.

What is something you want YP’s to know?

Youth Ministry is so important! Keep sacrificing! I know what you guys do is
hard, but keep going. If you don’t, you’re going to wish you sacrificed more. My
generation is lost, and you’re their only hope to know the Lord. The teen years
are really the prime time for you to save souls. There’s such an open door that
so often gets closed after teens graduate from high school.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Boys Adrift by Dr. Leonard Sax

This book is a must-read for any father or leader of young men/boys. It was referred to me and as soon as I got my hands on it, I devoured it. The meat of this book comes when you gain insight into what is happening with today’s young people. This generation of young boys has grown up de-motivated and underachieving in many areas of their life. Dr. Leonard Sax gives some startling information that is bound to shock you to action. He discusses the five factors leading to this emerging generation of slackers:
  1. Video Games
  2. Teaching Methods
  3. Prescription Drugs
  4. Endocrine Disruptors
  5. Devaluation of Masculinity

My favorite chapters delved into the topics of Video Games, Teaching Methods, and the Devaluation of Masculinity.

Sax shares the statistics that 1/3 of 22-34 year olds are still living with their parents. The question I ask myself and all of you is this: What are you doing to help motivate the young men in your care to action and a vision for their lives? If you are not sure, I would encourage you to read this book. Prepare yourself to be provoked to do something with today’s generation of young boys.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

This is funny

This is another video that made me laugh and think what the music we listen to today is going to sound like to people 25 years from now.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Penn State vs. Michigan


Two weeks ago I flew up to Penn State College to watch the Michigan Wolverines vs. the Penn State Nittany Lions. My wife's father played for Penn State, so I try to fly up and watch one game a year. Zach and I had a great time at the game. The only thing that got us down was Michigan’s loss. Penn State demolished Michigan 36-17.

As I was sitting next to my son Zach, I started looking at the 108,000 people at the game. As I surveyed the wide variety of individuals there, I began to wonder what kind of relationships they had with their sons. I will continue to cultivate the relationship I have with my son at a deep level, football being one of the ways I’ll do that. I enjoyed being at that game with my son, but enjoyed tucking Zach in bed last even more. Here is how it went:

Me: Zach, what do you want to pray about tonight?
Zach: Ummm? Well, I want you to pray that I will not struggle with fear. But, if I do, I want you to pray that I will push through that fear and that Jesus will be waiting for me on the other side of fear smiling at me.
Zach: What about you daddy?
Me: Zach, you can pray that daddy will be the best husband to mommy.
Zach: Ok, daddy. Can you pray first?

Penn State vs. Michigan - Priceless.

Praying with my Son - Legendary in my mind.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Miss those times in the 1980's

While watching this video I thought, "What will people say about what we are doing twenty years from now?"

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Separation of Church and Money--Part II

In my last post on money, I talked about why we separate love for God and passion for Him and do not include the way we handle money ideals.

I want to address how do you create a culture of financial training in your youth ministry or in your youth culture. As we can begin this discussion, we first must look at the glasses we currently look through in regards to money. These questions listed below will you see what perspective you personally have on money that will determine a lot on what you focus on with the teenagers in your care.

1. What is your personal philsophy when it comes to money? Do you invest it? Study it?
2. Do you personally give a portion of your money to your local church, charities, para-church, etc?
3. Do you believe in tithing?
4. Do you regularly ready finance journals that continually educate you? Money, Kipliger's, the Economist, Investor Business Daily, etc are a few ones that could get you started?
5. Do you have a budget? Do you adhere to the guidelines you established in that budget?
6. Do you have a long term plan when it comes to money management and money education?
7. Do you have a financial mentor that you can talk to and bounce ideas off of? One that can raise the intellectual bar of money edcuation in your life
8. When you see someone in need, does your compassion usually dictate that you provide for them financially.
9. What is your favorite "money" book?


The answers to those questions will determine what kind of culture you are going to create in your home of youth ministry. Please go back and read those questions and spend some time filling them out. Discuss these with your spouse or your family.

Next week, we will walk through some of the answers to these questions and what are the next steps to creating this money culture in our youth ministry that is not cut off from our love for God.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Great Quotes

"Christianity is a shared life experience. God is sharing His life with you."

--Dr. Bruce Bickel

Monday, October 06, 2008

Call for Free Financial Advice

If you are unsure of what is happening with the world's economy, specifically your investments and where you are headed. Call the number below to talk to a certified planner.

Members of the Financial Planning Association will also be available Monday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET to take your questions about how to keep your money safe and your investment goals on track. Call 888-216-8178.

Friday, October 03, 2008

FIREPROOF

Although I do not plan on reviewing very many movies on this site, I went and saw one with my wife that I thought would benefit many people.

The movie was Fireproof. I would recommend every husband and wife to watch this movie together and see how they are doing in their marriage. It is a great image of what a marriage can be when their is sacrifice and commitment to be unselfish and serving your spouse.



For those that are single, you may want to check out this movie and see if you have any patterns in your life that mirror the characters in this movie.

I would give this movie a 10 in regards to storyline and a 8 out of 10 for an overall movie.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Separation of Church and Money--Part I

I was talking to a young man yesterday (18yrs old). I asked him if he had anyone train in him in money management, money leadership, investing, etc. He said no. I asked him how long he had been going to a church. He said all of his life. I said you have had no training on money from the church he said No. I said, "I'm sorry that the older people have failed you in this critical issue."

Why don't we as older people in the faith teach and train our young people to master the concept of money? Why don't we teach on it in our family? In our Sunday School? At least somewhere when believers come together. Why do we wait in some churches to only teach on it with the older people?

If you are reading this, you can make the change for every teenager you have some influence on. If you are a YP, begin a series on this starting in January. If you are a concerned parent, talk to your YP and ask him when he is going to start a discussion on money. If you are a pastor, begin to mandate that all of our teenagers are going to be going through a training on money.

I think the main reason we don't train on money is because of ignorance and even more importantly, because we don't think it will stir up our fire for God or draw us closer to Him. We think teaching on money should be reserved for economists while our teens are piling up credit card debt. We think teaching should be done only in the schools as our teens walk blindly into college taking out massive college loans. We think teaching on money should be done in the home, while our church kids live for the now while not thinking how they are going to pay in the future.

It is time we stop separating church and money and hit it hard with our teens. In Part II, I will cover how you begin to create a culture in your youth ministry or home that begins to honor God with our money and trains our students in practical ways.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A letter to an emerging leader

The following is a letter I wrote to one of teens in our church when his dad was having an event to affirm him in his manhood. I know this young man will flourish in his life. I encourage you to write letters and write them often.

Kyle,

“It is not so much what we do in this world that matters, but it is what we put in motion that really matters.”

“My commitment is stronger than my emotions.”

“The extra mile has no Traffic Jams.”

These quotes are things that come to mind when I think of your life and where God wants to take you. God is an incredibly big God and I believe He wants to do His thing in our life. Winston Churchill said that when a man is young he would be foolish to not be a liberal, but when the man grows up he would be a fool if he has not turned into a conservative thinker. I think what Winston Churchill was saying is that a young men have an uncanny ability to take risks, talk big, have lots of energy, and push the envelope in every area of life because of the zeal they have. Kyle, use this zeal you have to run and not grow weary as a young man. Remember that being a male is a matter of birth, but being a man is a matter of the choices we make. Lean into your Dad and Mom during these critical years of life so they will help you make great Godly choices.
The quote above that says “My commitment is stronger than my emotions” is a quote that Jesus lived taking His cross up the hill. He was committed to the plan God had for Him. The plan God has for you will include many hills. One of those hills will probably include a time in college. Make your commitment strong to do well, very well in college. Don’t allow the emotions of apathy or laziness to dominate you during these years like so many other men that have fallen into these emotions. Remember the reason why you are doing something and let nothing sway you from accomplishing it as your are becoming a mighty Man of God.
“It is not so much what we do in this world that matters, but it is what we put in motion that really matters.” I see what you have done in the youth group as starting motions in the lives of the young men and women. Your boldness in sharing your heart has encouraged them and pushed them. Keep starting things like that. In fact, make a plan this year on what things you are going to start to expand God’s Kingdom. Some things you will start and finish and other things you will just begin. I encourage you to write some things down that you believe God would have you do over the next 12 months.
“The extra mile has no traffic jams.” I believe you really want to break away from the crowd of mediocrity. There is an enemy called average. You will not be this way. You will choose the way of influence as you are called to influence. The sins of your past and weaknesses of your past must just be that—your past. King David said in Psalm 25:15 that my eyes are ever on the Lord for He along will release my feet from the snare or deadly trap. Going the extra mile in the Kingdom is always serving God and people a little bit more than you naturally want. I believe in you and know you will keep your eyes on Him.

Kyle, I wish I could have shared this night with you, but I am up in Michigan celebrating a week with my family. Let me leave you with one final thought. Jim Elliott said in his journal around your age that God makes his ministers as fire. He prayed Lord, am I ignitable? Oh God, please take away any water that is dampening my hunger for you, and put your oil upon my spirit that I may burn with your holy desire. Kyle, that is my prayer for you tonight. That you would burn brightly for God and ask Him to remove the chaff from your life.

Our God is a Great God,

Heath

Monday, September 29, 2008

Books I'm reading

Boys Adrift--I will be writing a book review on this very soon. This is an incredible book. Very revealing on what is happening to men currently or what they are allowing to happen to them.

A Bold Fresh Piece of Humanity--I had to get this memoir from Bill O'Reilly. I have never read one of his books, but I thought this would be very interesting to find out how he became the bull-dozer he is. My wife and I watch him sometimes and laugh, glean, become inspired, and chuckle all at the same time.

Pagan Christianity--As I am reading this book, my brain is being engulfed with a myriad of thoughts from my training at college, training since college, and this book. I will be writing a book review on this in the next couple of weeks, but am quite perplexed at this book. Although well documented with a legion of footnotes, the premise of this book is trying to shift the state of the church by letting the church know that almost everything they are doing is WRONG. We shall see once I am finished.

Simple Church--This was quite the famous book in the last couple of years and I have just started to read this.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

ESOAL 2008 has come to an end

After all of the preparation of ESOAL 2008, I now look back and thank God. I grew up playing a variety of sports including Football, Basketball, and Baseball. I did two-a-days playing Football. I worked hard, but I have never been part of something like ESOAL. ESOAL went for over 74 hours. The people that went through ESOAL are heroes. They are champions. They persevered. They Endured. And, they inspired all of us that were helping run the event.

My wife did it. She is the epitome of a winner. She pushed through the wall of pain, boredom, anguish, discouragement, and completed ESOAL. I am so proud of her. She set her mind back in the spring to completely finish ESOAL and she did it. She had her tough times when she severely hurt her toe. I thought that might finish her. But, she decided to finish ESOAL instead of being finished.

What a woman! If you haven't watched the videos of her, keep scrolling down and watch a mom of 3 kids under the age of 6 live the Scripture that "she can do all things, through Jesus Christ."

Thursday, September 18, 2008

319 Discusses her thoughts on ESOAL

ESOAL Update #3

ESOAL Update #2

This is me interviewing my wife Alisa, #319, in ESOAL.



You can't see her in the video, but here's what she looked like around that same time:





ESOAL Update #1

Here's my first update from last night.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Once they were soldiers...

This is a great story of heroism. It's great to hear about this as we go into ESOAL tonight. I'm so excited to help rescue the participants from being dictated by their emotions as we give them opportunity to overcome them through the adversity ESOAL brings.

Once they were soldiers...


Ed Freeman

You're an 18 or 19 year old kid. You're critically wounded, and dying in the jungle in the Ia Drang Valley, 11-14-1965. LZ Xray, Vietnam. Your Infantry Unit is outnumbered 8 - 1, and the enemy fire is so intense, from 100 or 200 yards away, that your own Infantry Commander has ordered the MediVac helicopters to stop coming in.

You're lying there, listening to the enemy machine guns, and you know you're not getting out. Your family is 1/2 way around the world, 12,000 miles away, and you'll never see them again. As the world starts to fade in and out, you know this is the day.

Then, over the machine gun noise, you faintly hear that sound of a helicopter, and you look up to see a Huey, but it doesn't seem real, because no Medi-Vac markings are on it.

Ed Freeman is coming for you. He's not Medi-Vac, so it's not his job, but he's flying his Huey down into the machine gun fire, after the Medi-Vacs were ordered not to come.

He's coming anyway.

And he drops it in, and sits there in the machine gun fire, as they load 2 or 3 of you on board.

Then he flies you up and out through the gunfire, to the Doctors and Nurses.

And, he kept coming back...... 13 more times..... and took about 30 of you and your buddies out, who would never have gotten out.

Medal of Honor Recipient Ed Freeman died last Wednesday at the age of 80, in Boise, ID......May God rest his soul.....

Video Updates Throughout ESOAL

I will be updating this blog about ESOAL starting tonight and continuing throughout Sunday. Please check back to see what is happening.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Monday, September 15, 2008

Men’s Ministry in Your Youth Ministry: The First Experience

Ok, once you make the decision to start an emphasis on training the young men in your youth ministry to becoming the Greatest Sons, Greatest Husbands, and Greatest Fathers, you need to decide how to open it up.

Here is one way I opened it up 2 years ago:

In the circle drive in front of our youth building, I lit tiki torches in 3 different areas along the circle drive while the group was in the youth building during the service’s opening worship. I asked 3 men to share their hearts, each at a one of the different stations I had created. The first shared what it meant to be a great son. The second shared the significance of being a great husband. The last shared about being a great father.

After the worship ended, we walked all the guys outside. As they set their feet out of the door, they saw the tiki torches set up. Immediately they asked what was going on. I then told them of the new direction I was taking the youth group in. I explained what Trailer Club was going to be about and listed the 3 roles of what we would be
discussing.

In going to the stations, they would soon learn even more about these 3 roles. At the first station, my friend shared from his life and the Scriptures. When we got to the next station, that man shared about preparing yourself to be a great husband. We continued to walk about the circle lot only to arrive at station 3 where the next guy shared about being a father and what that looks like. We ended in prayer; praying over each other that God would give us His power to accomplish His plans for our life.
After you introduce them to the concept, cast great vision to the guys of what they can expect to learn and experience as they become part of the men’s emphasis at your youth ministry.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Teen Perspectives

Today I’ll be interviewing


Natali Nieto

She’s 18 and likes playing guitar, spending time with
the Lord while exploring nature, and having a good laugh with
friends.

Let’s see what she has to say:





“I never really was involved with youth group, but I can tell you this…”

At 15 my family picked up its roots and moved from California to Arizona. I had
been involved with a youth group in Cali, but in Arizona, my church experience
wasn’t that great. The first and only youth group I tried was anything but
effective and meaningful. To me it felt superficial. Those same teens I saw
worshipping and praying were also sleeping around, partying, and experimenting
with different illegal substances. I was never welcomed. The YP never wanted to
listen or help me personally.


What did he do that made you feel this way?

I never felt welcomed because he never gave me the time of day. He had his
favorites and if you weren’t one of them, you were invisible to him. I was the
invisible one.

What are some things that YP’s can do to show their sincerity to youth?

I think it’s hard to engage with each and every student in a big youth group,
but they should at least try to make an effort to meet and greet each new person
so they can feel welcome and not alienated.

Not alienated? So, you’re saying it’s very important for youth to feel connected to the group, right? How could a YP make that happen?

Yes. I know that not every YP has the time to have the most intimate
conversations with every single person that walks through the youth room doors.
But someone needs to have these interactions with each individual…someone like a
small group leader. It’s crucial for young men and women to have Godly mentors
in their lives. I remember having someone like this when I was younger and it
made all the difference.

In a small group setting, youth are given more
opportunities to grow. Outside of this they can just go under the radar and not
be noticed. But the thing about small groups is that your leader is there to
notice what’s going on in your life. Youth are challenged to not live a double
life. The accountability offered in small groups would have deterred many of the
teens from my old youth group away from their two-faced life.

Do you have any other thoughts?

I believe genuine youth groups exist. I didn’t experience one and I never want
any other teen to have that same experience. YP’s, take note and be authentic
and sincere with your youth.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The VAULT

Throughout the 5 years I’ve been a part time youth pastor, I’ve used numerous curriculums to share with my students. Each of them has been beneficial in their own ways, but none of them compared to the one I’m using now. The VAULT is a curriculum I started using 2 months ago and it’s proven to be everything I could hope for and some. Packed with Biblical content, great discussion starters, complete sermons, PowerPoint’s, skits, ways to involve parents, and much more, I’ve found that it really is a VAULT of gold for every youth pastor!

The VAULT team is even giving out a month’s worth of material to everyone who emails them at theVAULT@teenmania.org. I’d definitely give it a try.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

ESOAL's Coming!

Every year at Teen Mania’s Honor Academy we facilitate a life-transforming event called ESOAL (Emotionally Stretching Opportunity of a Lifetime). Starting next Thursday I’ll be part of a group of facilitators who push participants to trust the Lord more than they ever have before in their lives. In this optional event, we’re placing the participants in very adverse scenarios to stretch them emotionally and physically. Go to this link to watch a video that describes ESOAL more: (http://www.honoracademy.com/esoal.php).

This year is going to be a lot different for me since this girl is going to be taking part in ESOAL and pushing herself beyond her limits:



My wife’s going through ESOAL!

Monday, September 08, 2008

Leading a Men’s Ministry in Your Youth Ministry

Imagine...
...you and your Senior Pastor are sitting down discussing the youth ministry. He makes the statement, “I’d like to see the youth ministry going in a new direction. How about we only have the regular youth service twice a month? On the other two weeks of the month, we would split the guys and the girls for gender-specific lessons. Let’s teach the young men to be Men and the young girls to be Women."
How would you react to that? Would you be anxious, perplexed, excited, or downright scared?

Take a moment to think about this: What if we as youth ministers brought our young men out of the traditional youth ministry setting and separated them from the ladies so we could specifically target them as men?

If you want to do something like this in your youth ministry, think about these things before you start it up:

1. Name the fraternity:
Yes, you need to think of this as a fraternity where the men will want to be part of it and enjoy it.

2. Main Goals:
What do you want to accomplish in these 2 meetings a month?

3. Tenets/Core Values:
Out of all the things Christians need to develop in their lives, what specific “core values” or tenets will your group focus on?

4. Content:
What resources are you going to use?

We will continue to discuss this the next time I post about men's ministry in a youth ministry.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Teen Perspectives

Today I’ll be interviewing:

Krystal Chan

She’s 19 and loves coffee, talking about the Lord,
and trying new foods.

Let’s see what she has to say:



What were the best things about youth group?

Unity, vulnerability, and keeping a good eye on opposite gender
relationships. I went to a Chinese church where most of the people were
families that recently immigrated to Canada. I liked how my YP never
judged the students (since he was raised in a white/Canadian culture) and took
the time to learn about our culture.
Looking back, what things do you wish your YP focused on?

Teaching us about keeping an eye on eternity. Chinese parents put a HUGE
focus on doing well in school à getting into a good college/university à getting
a good job and making ‘good money’ so they can have a ‘good life.’ I
would’ve liked it if my YP was able to bring all of that into perspective by
teaching us about sowing to reap eternal rewards.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Financial Training for Teens

"The rich plan for 3 or 4 generations. The poor plan for Saturday night."
What can we do to get our teens thinking longer term in regards to finances?

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

I laughed at this

I grew up watching wrestling and laughed when I first saw this, but now hope that no one got hurt.

(wrestler needs a chair and fans deliver)

Monday, September 01, 2008

Friday, August 29, 2008

Teen Perspectives

I’m going to be interviewing teens who have just graduated from high school. They’ll be answering questions about their experiences, or lack of experiences with their youth groups.

Today I’ll be interviewing:



Beth King

She’s 19 and loves music and writing.


Let’s see what she has to say:


What aspect of your youth group ministered to you the most?

Small groups! They’re the most important. I went to a youth group during my junior high years that meet in small groups. Between 2 and 3 hundred students came to that youth group, so it could be easy to get lost in the crowd. But, in the small group meetings, I could connect with one youth leader and a few different teens on a more personal level. I got challenged so much by these girls. They held me accountable to the things discussed during our meetings.

The youth group “took a break” from small groups for a time, but never really started them back up again. There were a lot of things hitting me during that time and I really felt as if the weight of it all was on my shoulders alone. Small groups give support when you’re so weak that you can’t hold yourself up spiritually or emotionally. I ended up in a place where I was so weighed down, but I didn’t have anyone to help me carry the weight. The friends that were there for me only added to the weight with their negative influence on my life. I ended up getting into a lot of bad stuff, much of which was due to not have a core group of people to hold me up in my time of weakness.

This kind of rolls into the next question:


How did your youth ministry cause you to fall more in love with God?

I got invited to go to another youth group at one point and I went. It was honestly just something I did to get out of the house since my parents had grounded me from basically anything but church and homework outside of school. The new youth group welcomed me in and made a point to get to know me. They listened as I shared my heart and just loved me. They didn’t just label me a “backslider” and leave it at that. Instead, they showed God’s love to me. Then, when they talked about God, I was more interested in what they had to say. After a month at this youth group, I rededicated my life to God.

My experience is a perfect example that this saying is true: people don’t care how uch you know until they know how much you care.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Financial Training for Teens

One of my passions in life in living a frugal life and teaching others to make the most of the money and resources they have in this life.

So, how do we help teenagers have this passion for being a steward of money and their resources?

I will be sharing on this topic almost every Thursday as we discuss how to love God and honor Him with their money. I am looking forward to next week and beginning this topic.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A Massive Snake

Whoa!

My kids Zack, Sierra, and Savannah were so excited after I showed them the video of this massive snake.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Men's Ministry in a Student Ministry Part I

  • "Being a male is a matter of birth, being a Man is a matter of Choice."

    In youth ministry, I have rarely seen seen a focus on men's development in youth groups. I have seen churches focus on men's ministry, but very rarely in the teenage years. When I first became a Youth Pastor, I searched for information that would help me target the young men to bring them from being boys to thriving as men. The information was not there to be found. In the youth ministry I am part of, we typically have more young men than young women attend. The reason for this is the environment that is created with what I call Trailer Club. Trailer Club is a men's specific teaching that hits the young men square in their face about 3 issues:
    1. Becoming the best Son's
    2. Becoming the best Husband's
    3. Becoming the best Father's

    It is everyone man's dream to become at least one of the those three concepts above it not all of them. Here are some things I would ask you to consider when it comes to leading your family or your youth ministry:

  • Do you have a plan in place so the young men in your care are being challenged to make choices that will help them become better men?
  • Have you created an atmosphere in your own life that provides challenges in your own life?
  • What do you think of the quote, "For boys to become men, they have to see men."
  • What would a men's focus in your youth ministry look like with the area you live in and the young men that attend?
  • Do you have to have a Wii to draw young guys to your youth ministry, or is love for God enough?
Here are some thoughts...I will continue to share thoughts almost every week on this topic.

Monday, August 25, 2008

My first Post

This site will give my thoughts on a variety of topics. It will include thoughts on my family, youth ministry in general, my life as a part-time youth pastor, leading the emerging generation, topics of interest, and events I am part of it.