Monday, March 30, 2009

staff change...what do you do?

One thing I can promise every church, business, school, and non-profit is staff change. It does not matter if it is paid or volunteer staff there will come a time when you have a team member move on. In four years we have seen many times of leadership change when great leaders moved to new roles, moved away from Clarksville, or left GCC for another leadership opportunity. All of these times are hard because we love the people we serve with. Here at Grace Community we are in a time of change. This week Daniel Doss, one of my best friends, let the church here know he was moving to the Chicago area to help plant a new church. I have been doing ministry with Daniel and Emily for the past 7 years serving at camps, retreats, or on church staffs and I love them so much. God used Daniel here at Grace Community to help launch the church. God used Emily to help us give birth to our children's ministry. God has used them both as they had the chance to experience working with a record label, produce another album, and invest in others through music. I have talked with Daniel and he is so excited about the chance to take the GCC experience and help plant a new church. I am proud of Daniel and Emily for taking the plunge and following God's lead! Now at GCC we get to pray for him, support him, and see what God will do as the new church is launched. So, what do you do when people you love move to new opportunities...that is the million dollar question! Here is what I have learned in dealing with staff and volunteers who follow God's lead for NEXT in their life...
  • Never hold key staff or volunteers back from God's NEXT plan for their life. We should always encourage our team to seek God's will with passion.
  • CELEBRATE the what God did through that key staff or volunteer. Staff change gives us a chance to look back, encourage, and celebrate! Bless the team member leaving and bless the place they are going.
  • BREATHE...yes calm down and take time to encourage the team member leaving and do not allow change to drive you to live in "worry mode." God cares about what is next for the organization you lead more than you do!
  • PRAY...cover the team member with prayer and pray for your organization as you work through the transition. Staff change leads us to depend less on our effort and more on God.
  • LEAD...staff change lets you invest and recast vision to your current team. Empower key volunteers, cast vision, and make sure everyone knows what is next for your organization.
  • LOOK...staff openings provide someone else the chance to step up and lead. God has a plan and the right leader to fill the gap. Always look for the right leader not a recreation of the past leader. It is not about finding a similar leader it is about finding the right leader for your team.

Friday, March 27, 2009

TIMEOUT, we all need it!

Taking a timeout this weekend. My mother in-law is hanging out with our little girls and Chelsea and I are going to spend a few nights in Gatlinburg. Yes, TIMEOUT. For my I define a life TIMEOUT as taking time to get out of our routine in order to slow down long enough to enjoy life, rest, process, and refuel. Taking time away allows me to trust the team I work with at GCC and let go of ministry for a few days. GCC will be just fine without me! I hate being away from folks I love but I know I need time away and guess need time away from your ministry (or job, whatever you call it)! Here are some of my timeout thoughts...
  • If you say you do not need TIMEOUT moments you are already in trouble! People who brag about not taking timeouts are in trouble, stay away from them and the organizations they lead.
  • TIMEOUT moments have to happen every week...they are called days off, yes you need them. If you cannot do your work in a 40-60 hour 5 to 6 day work week then your work life is out of control. You need real days off. Read the Bible and learn about that sabbath idea God had.
  • You can take TIMEOUTS without being away from work. Just get out of your routine. A change of environment can be great! Go to the library, a coffee shop, the park...just change the flow!
  • Use your vacation...ALL OF IT. Even if you just stay home and work on other projects take the time. You will not regret it.
  • Use TIMEOUT moments to get around people who refresh you! I love time away with my wife and kids. I also love going on vacations with my extended family and friends. It is fun and it helps me see clearly what matters.
  • Use conference time to take a TIMEOUT. Go places that inspire you and challenge you to rethink life and ministry.
Take it from someone who loves to work and presses to get the most out of every work week. YOU NEED TO TAKE PLANNED TIME OFF. Be courageous and take a TIMEOUT! we know you are a big deal but it is all going to be OK while you are OUT! So here goes my TIMEOUT for the weekend, see ya Monday.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

let's party!

Ok, it was my birthday yesterday. I did have a great day and it was cool to hear from so man folks on facebook and twitter. THANKS so much. Here in the GCC office we celebrate each staff members b-day and try to get them something they would like. I will show you a picture of what our team got me at the end of this post. We have had several staff birthday's come up the past few months and it has been fun to celebrate that day with them. Yes we get to pick on them for a day but we also get to let them know how thankful we are for them and their efforthere at grace Community. It takes a little effort and we have one person here on staff (Karen Grizzard!!!) who makes sure we are all on track but it helps everyone take time to celebrate the great team God has placed here. The greatest asset any church or ministry has are its leaders and volunteers. People matter more than buildings and budgets. Your team will determine the extend of your influence not your budget! I am thankful to serve with a great team here. Here is what the staff here at GCC got me...(yes I love THE OFFICE)
I found this thing on my desk on Thursday...this is very scary and makes me want to take back everything I said about loving our team...WOW is all I can say!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Just read this from Mike Yaconelli's book, Dangerous Wonder...

"The Christian Life is more than finding Jesus--it is following Jesus. Following, it turns out, is not a one time, spectacular act of faith, but a one-day-at-a-time, ordinary, unspectacular following; a daily act of fearlessness that takes us through the most frightening and rugged terrain to a place of peace, joy, and abandon." - p62

That just blew me away, I have a feeling that I will be posting a ton of stuff up from this book. If you get a chance read everything you can from Mike Yaconelli. You may not agree with everything he wrote but he inspired a generation of youth leaders to rethink youth ministry and life. Go check him out!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

recruit, recruit, recruit...then do some more...

When you are reaching new people it will always take more volunteers to serve those new people! That is mind boggling! Really - it takes people to reach people and it takes passionate volunteers to serve those new people. It is a crazy cycle and when you do not stay on the lookout for new leaders it will hurt your chances of connecting with new people who check out the ministry you lead. Right now our team is in the middle of trying to find new leaders for all of our family ministry areas. Every church we talk to is trying to figure out how to discover, train, encourage, and support their volunteer team. There is no easy way to do this! Here is what we are learning...
  • RECRUIT ALL YEAR - yes, always be willing to bring new leaders into your area all year and make it a constant priority!
  • REFER...encourage everyone on your staff to look for volunteers that might fit your area. I pass on names for the worship team and they scout for children's volunteers as well. We all work together because we all need leaders!
  • PRAY...all year for God to help bring the right people. This is huge! You can not gripe about not having volunteers when you are not praying about it. After you pray commence griping...just kidding!
  • HAVE A INTEGRATION AND TRAINING can be simple but have system of allowing people to check out your area and learn. Some will stick and some will walk away. It is OK!
  • COMMUNICATE QUICKLY with potential volunteers! Timing is huge!
  • ENCOURAGE CURRENT VOLUNTEERS TO BE ON THE LOOK...this is huge. If your environment is one that is exciting your current volunteer can help to get new volunteers. Take care of your people that they will help take care of the need for more help!
  • TRUST GOD...this is so huge. God knows who you need before you know who you need. Recruiting never goes away so do not let it kill your joy for ministry!
  • TRUST YOUR GUT...sometimes people are not a good fit. Do not hesitate to help a volunteers find another area. Usually your first impression is right. Bad volunteer fits cause more trouble than it is worth. Doing ministry is not "plug and play" it involves buy in and teamwork.
Ok so we do not have it all figured out! What is working for you as you look for new volunteers?

Monday, March 23, 2009

MERGE 09 was wild! Thanks God!

Thanks to so many of you who prayed for MERGE 09 and thanks a MILLION times to our host homes, lifegroup leaders, co-hosst, band, and speaker who took time to invest in a bunch of wild teens from relevant student ministry. We do MERGE and CRAVE each year as times where we can go to the next level of investing in teens who plug into REMIX each week. It has been so thrilling to hear the stories of God working from group leaders and students. It is amazing that God worked the most in our lifegroup sessions in the homes. My heart sings each time I hear a of a moment where somebody got "it" and decided to do more than "learn", they decided to follow God's voice and "live." Here on monday morning in the middle of finishing the details of the retreat I am overwhelmed with the "it is all worth it" emotion! Pat Rowland and the MERGE band ( Patrick Willis, Cameron Gwaltney, Kyle Shipe, Reen Bernick, Logan Leopold, Jon Austin, and Rosemary Willis) thanks for serving. Patrick, Cameron, and all the was a joy to serve with you again and I am so proud of how God is at work in your lives. The fact that we got to serve togethr at First Norfolk and now here at Grace Community blows my mind. You are each amazing! To all of you who came to MERGE...I love serving you here at GCC, you are an amazing group of teens. JUST AMAZING! Here are a few pics that sum it all up for us...

Friday, March 20, 2009

MERGE 09 this weekend...

We made it to MERGE 09 and it all goes down this weekend. We use MERGE as one weekend where our Lifegroups can come together and go to another level. We are stoked because all of lifegroup leaders were able to be here this weekend and pour into our students. For this retreat we stay here in Clarksville and have our lifegroups crash in homes here in the city, ALMOST like one huge sleepover on CRACK. Because we do not use homes for our groups each week the intimacy goes to another level and teens are really able to pause and let their guard down. It is going to be great to hear the stories that come out of MERGE. We are excited about having Patrick Willis and Cameron Gwaltney lead the worship in each gathering with my former band from First Baptist Norfolk, they are GREAT! Pat Rowland from Cross Point church in Nashville is speaking and I know God will use him this weekend. Pat does what I do here at GCC on staff at Cross Point.

Just want to ask any of you who follow this blog at or on facebook please pray for us this weekend. We simply want to allow our lives to merge with God's plan for us this weekend. There is no other goal than to allow Jesus to shape all of us. We end MERGE back at GCC on Sunday at the 9 AM service so get ready for us to take over the service! See ya Sunday!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

where do we connect with teens?

If you work with teens then you know you have to have some environment that is your place to connect with them. You have to have a place where teens invite their other friends to come and connect. At relevant student ministry we found our place to connect is in our weekly gathering called REMIX and oddly enough Sunday mornings at Grace Community. In both environments we see tons of teens show up and we have the chance to connect with and serve them. Last night at REMIX we had 4 first time quests and that is such the norm. It is so incredible to get to connect with new kids each week. We place a ton of energy into making the first time experience GREAT! It is amazing that the invite and invest process keeps working and we see tons of teens moving forward in their spiritual journey.

We have a big event this weekend called MERGE (very dnow like) and I have to keep reminding myself that our events are not our open door! Some of you use events as the place to connect with teens for the first time but we think that event driven outreach brings kids into a experience that is not and can not be replicated on a weekly basis. Camp is great but camp is not what happens week to week in the flow of our ministry. Our 2 retreat weekends a year here at relevant are about our weekly leaders getting away and investing into teens, disciplining teens, caring for teens. Teens come because they want to and they know it has a purpose. It makes for an amazing retreat but this strategy puts a hunger in my heart for our teens not to miss it. i fight the urge to be consumed y who is not there! I know a single weekend could change the course of a teens life. I know God could take what we have been investing week in and week out and bring it all full circle on a weekend. My hunger at each retreat is just to get teens who have bought in at relevant to take time to come. The hard part is the youth ministry reality...TEENS ARE BUSY and it is hard for them to commit to any kind of retreat. Sounds familiar to asking any adult to get away for anything. It never changes! So our plan is to celebrate every moment with every teen that is with us this weekend. It is going to be amazing and I feel like we are working within our strategy and seeing lives changed by God.

I personally am stoked to have new kids show up every Sunday and Wendnesday and not just for a weekend experience. Thanks to all of the teens at REMIX and GCC that keep spreading the word and trusting us enough to invite your friends!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

free breakfast church...check this out

It is always amazing to see a church in motion serving the community. My friend sent me this link today and I had to put it here on the blog. Check this video out and if you are on facebook reading this hit my blog at

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

some quotes from IT (does your church have IT?)

Steve Griffith used to tell us all the time, "God blesses what God blesses!" It is so true! We do not get to choose how, when, on who, or where God chooses to pour out his blessing. God is on a mission in our world! Did you know that? His mission is wrapped up on helping every human being know they were made by HIM and they are loved by HIM and Jesus made the way to a relationship with HIM. His plan to spread this news is in a group of people he calls his CHURCH. We are not talking about a building or denomination, we are talking about the billions of people who have followed Jesus for thousands of years. It is so clear when you see and group of Christians gathered together (a church) that has IT. IT being that blessing of God that comes when we are passionate about the the things God is passionate about. This book by Craig Groeschel is a look at that kind of blessing on leaders and churches. This is a turning point book in the life of Craig and I am so thankful for his blog and they work is doing. Here are some quotes that hit me hard from the book...
  • Be generous with IT! Find a church that could benefit from what you are doing and adopt them. - 153
  • As God blesses your ministry with IT, remember that those without IT tend to criticize those with IT, especially when you do things differently. - 99
  • Mother Teresa"None of us, including me, ever do great things. But we all can do small things, with great love, and together we can do something wonderful." - 77
  • I'm not suggesting that expanding or doing new things are wrong. But you can't overestimate the power of focus...Doing the wrong new things, things that usurp what God calls us to do, is dangerous. Focus tents to let IT breathe. Lack of focus generally suffocates IT. - 58

Monday, March 16, 2009

monday brain dump

  • Kozbi had her tonsil's taken out this morning and was SO BRAVE. She did great in the surgery and was TICKED off when she woke up and someone put an IV in her arm! HA! I am proud of her and I know it will help her to not be sick every other week with STREP!
  • With surgery comes grandparents in town, LOVE when the family comes down. They got to see Cross Street LIVE last night. That was really cool.
  • the gathering at GCC was great Sunday. Tons of kids connecting in Cross Street and Grace Acres, tons of visitors, and the biggest attendance in GCC history = WILD! It was so cool to see God move and Chad hit a home run with week 2 of the EPIC series. Got to to listen or watch the message from this Sunday. IT IS GREAT!
  • Cross Street LIVE was GREAT! I am so proud of our CSL team. The actors, dancers, singers, tech folks, set up/tear down team, and Cross Street volunteers all did an amazing job. Really they made it happen. I am so proud of our team pulling this off each month for families. The most amazing part of the night is seeing kids and parents laugh, sing, dance, and learn together.
  • MERGE is this weekend and we are very excited about what God is going to do in the lives of teens this weekend. MERGE is such an incredible weekend. We are praying hard that God blows us all away.
  • REALLY BUSY - that is what my life has been like in March! I am trying to work hard to stay calm, trust God, and enjoy this season of life. God has been good each step of the way this month and really blessed me with strategic days of rest! very cool...PAUSE and trust God, sounds like a sabbath!
  • Really proud of my Tennessee Volunteers! 3 teams from the SEC got in and we made it. It has been a hard season. Hope they pull and upset and beat a 1 seed just to break HEARTS! Go Vols, proud to have Bruce Pearl leading the Vols!
  • Joined the TWITTER nation this past weekend...turned off all my cell alerts from facebook and twitter. I got overwhelming having all that jank hit my cell, when I get a blackberry to handle email will not mind it but by text message it is on my nerves!
  • Finished reading IT by Craig Groeschl and it was a really good read. I think the best book by Craig. God is doing a great thing at
  • Starting to read the The Blue Parakeet book by Scot McKnight. I am liking what I am reading so far. Great book on how we read the Bible and how we live the Bible.
  • Great verse this it goes... Colossians 2:6-7 (MSG)
    6 My counsel for you is simple and straightforward: Just go ahead with what you've been given. You received Christ Jesus, the Master; now live him.
    7 You're deeply rooted in him. You're well constructed upon him. You know your way around the faith. Now do what you've been taught. School's out; quit studying the subject and start living it! And let your living spill over into thanksgiving.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Cross Street LIVE is back March 15 / 5PM @ RHS

Made it back home from a a few days at the Unleash Conference. Took yesterday and did nothing but hang with my family. We had a great time. This is a really wild next 2 weeks for the GCC family ministry. This weekend we host Cross Street LIVE at 5 on Sunday night at Rossview High and next weekend is our MERGE weekend for relevant student ministry. We do Cross Street LIVE to give families the time to STOP and WORSHIP God together. It is so incredible to see parents and kids go for it each month. Hope you can make it out this Sunday is our promo commercial! enjoy!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Today at Unleash

Had a great day here at Unleash. Have too many thoughts right now to air it all out BUT I have posted pics for the new children and student areas up on my facebook page. Go check it out. One thought before I get out or here today to catch my plane to see my family and enjoy a few inches of snow at home is about SHARING! It is so refreshing to see see the collaboration happening as the church gives away things they have learned. Through this one day conference NewSpring has made it really easy for churches to come in and check things out. Not to come in and copy but to learn...THERE IS A HUGE DIFFERENCE. I am praying that at GCC we can keep that philosophy rolling for with our ministry teams. What we do works for us in Clarksvile but it is for all to share and learn from. Here is a news flash...none of this church stuff is OURS, it belongs to GOD. We do not keep it to ourselves, we give it away and pay it forward. Thanks NewSpring for opening your doors up.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

FUSE...student ministry at NewSpring

The student ministry team at NewSpring Church in Anderson, South Carolina let me come in and check out their weekly gathering for teens called FUSE tonight. What I did not know was this was their first night in their new Fuse building. New Spring went all out investing in a space to reach the next generation. 1200 seat worship space, cafe, hang out space, gym, small group looked great. THANK YOU NEWSPRING for investing in the next generation. (I have to say we have this same strategy at GCC, thanks GCCers for giving and supporting our effort to reach teens in Clarksville!) We watched over 1,000 adults and teens pack that room and they went for it. The team at Fuse did a great job with security and student check-in, band and speaker did great, service flow was good, and most importantly the team cast the vision for why they built the see teens follow Christ. There was a genuine hunger tonight to see God show up. It is clear the Fuse team is on a mission to reach teens in Anderson with the message of hope Jesus brings to humanity! Loved the passion of the staff. Loved that on a big night for their ministry they let some strangers come in and take a quick look at their environment. We try to always keep our doors open at REMIX and it was cool to see that same mindset in action at FUSE. Here are some pics from the night...

Unleash conference and new spring church

Blogging from Charlotte, NC and about to get my rental car from HERTZ of course and head to Anderson, SC to check out the student ministry at New Spring Church and then go to the Unleash Conference on Thursday. Could not hit a student ministry conference this year so I decided to try a short conference and connect with some leaders in action to watch, listen and learn. I love to see what God is up to around the country and I am very excited about meeting the student ministry team at New Spring. If you get a chance to check out the web site and check out the some of their services online. Perry Noble is the lead pastor at New Spring...some of you love him and some of you hate him. If ya hate Perry, please do not use my blog or facebook to bash a pastor. Perry is innovative and his church is reaching people for Christ each week. Perry has a great blog you might want to check out also at! Should be a fun 2 days, will have some pics an thoughts from the student ministry up tonight RIGHT HERE.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

thanks YOUNG LIFE clarksville

Chelsea and I hosted a table tonight at the Young Life Clarksville banquet and once again this year I am reminded how thrilled I am that YL is here in our city. If you have a YL in your city please take time to see how your youth ministry and church can support the work of YL. We have YL in three of our high schools here in the city and we pray we can see every high school here have YL in action. Tonight I had the chance to hear from one of our teens that goes to Grace Community talk about how Young Life had made a difference in his life. I watched his YL leader stand next to him. It was amazing to hear his heart and know that GCC had a small part in his life. I was just as excitd to know he had a place to BELONG at YL! Youth Ministry is about seeing teens embrace Christ and here at GCC we feel like we have 2 student ministry efforts rolling to make a difference in the live of teens. Yes, I direct relevant student ministry here at GCC but we also support and believe in Young Life. We give to YL! We think it works! Why do we believe in Young Life? Here are a few reasons...
  • YL has a clear focus on being present on high school campuses and sharing the message of Jesus Christ. Yea, it works!
  • YL connects with kids that would never check out our church or youth ministry first. They go where we can't!
  • YL has staff and volunteers working at each school! Yea, it works!
  • YL helps teens discover Christ and then through a small group process help teens GROW in their faith! IT IS RELATIONAL!
  • YL helps teens connect with church...YES we have tons of teens at GCC because of YL and it is cool to see them serve and connect each week.
  • YL stives for excellence...we believe in excellence.
  • YL trys to do a few things really well...I love that strategy.
  • YL trains up volunteers to invest in teens. THAT IS THE HEART OF YOUTH MINISTRY!
Thanks to YL clarksville for investing in the lives if teenagers! I am stoked we get to do ministry together here in this city.

Monday, March 9, 2009

weekend thoughts...

We started a new series here at GCC this Sunday called EPIC. For the next several weeks we are literally going to dive into the story of God. His story is amazing and it is weaved all through the Bible. So many of my friends need this (well, I need it to!) because somewhere between reading Deuteronomy and the Gospel of John the entire story just does not make sense. This amazing story is the redemption of mankind, the hope of the world and yet we struggle to find our place in the story. I am hoping in the next few weeks all of us at GCC can see clearly what God has been doing and is doing in the world around us and that we understand the role we play in this amazing story. You can catch up on this week if you missed it at ( Some other STUFF that came up over the weekend...
  • Tore down my jacked up trampoline this weekend and Kelyn helped! Kelyn loved to help. She loves to be right in the middle of the action. So glad it is done but I am REALLY ready to go get the girls a new one. This time I will make sure and secure it to protect it from the wind!
  • Got to play golf this weekend with some great golfers! They each shot a 75 I eeeeeked out a 91! HA! Nothing like that to make you feel like a golf slacker. It was fun and I still so love the game. Join me in my golf addiction!
  • My girls love Dunbar Cave State Park. Got to take them to feed the ducks and crawl around the entrance to Dunbar Cave Saturday. THEY LOVED IT and I loved my time with them. it was just a dad/daughter date and we had a great time.
  • It was so fun to be the storyteller in Cross Street this week with our K-5th grade kids. There is nothing cooler than the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. WOW...that is crazy.
  • In community group we are all sharing our stories...CAN YOU SAY AMAZING. It is so incredible to hear how God has worked in each others lives and be able to honestly share where we are now. POWERFUL stuff!
  • My wife is AMAZING...nothing else really to say, she is amazing!
  • This week I get to work on our upcoming retreat for relevant student ministry and Cross Street Live going down Sunday night. Hitting a conference this week to but will blog about that later. IT IS GOING TO BE A BUSY WEEK, so thankful for a restful weekend to help me get ready for it!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

MERGE 2009 coming soon to RSM

Merge is a weekend retreat we do each year at relevant student ministry where we get away by staying right here in town. By get away I mean, we get OUT OF OUR NORMAL FLOW. The weekend is built so that our lifegroups can spend one weekend together connecting with each other and with God. Each lifegroup stays in a host home here in Clarksville for the entire weekend. It is amazing what happens when the groups connect in homes. Since our groups gather at our weekly environment they are not in a home setting very often. The weekend works because it is built around relationships. The teens connect with their leader and with the group in a way that just cannot happen in our weekly REMIX environment. This year we are bringing in Patrick Willis and Cameron Gwaltney to lead worship with my ENTIRE worship band from FBC Norfolk days. Pat Rowland from Cross Point Community Church in Nashville is speaking and I know he is going to do an amazing job. We wanted to get the word out about MERGE so we have a three commercial series coming your way. Here is the first promo commercial! Oh yea, the dates for MERGE are March 20-22 and teens can sign up at

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

2 big days for KOZ

Kozbi had her first school production tonight. She was GREAT, posted the video up here because it is just to wild. You have to see her get down. I love that she went for it. She was so funny and was cracking us all up. So proud of my girl. She is so smart, so beautiful, loves people, and loves God. What more could you ask for?

Other big news is that in the morning Koz has her tonsils taken out! HER FIRST SURGERY! We are pumped because she has had so many problems with strep throat. Lets roll with it. Will blog more about the surgery later in the week! If you get a chance pray for her.

Here is the video...if you are on Facebook click over to to check it out or look at the post I made on the Facebook page. HERE WE GO...

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

how do we connect?

Why do we care so much about people committing to and attending the environments we lead? We care, stress, and worry when people are missing because we care about them and we believe in what we are leading. It matters to US very much! That Bible study, youth ministry, community group, or church service we are leading have a goal and we want people to experience it. Just a reminder from yesterday that no matter how much we want people to come to our THING we can not miss the chance to invest in those that are present and serve them in the moment. If we will focus on serving those that are at our event there will be time later to connect with those that miss. We can connect and we need to connect outside our EVENT bubble. I work with families so I know how busyness can keep folks from incredible events and environments. My goal is to help them stay plugged in and serve them in the middle of their busy life. Just because they have a ton going on does not mean that they do not love God or want to be connected with what is going on at our church or youth ministry. Here are some things that work for us to build community and connect week in and week out...
  • RELATIONSHIPS - yes I said the R word and I cannot overvalue the importance of small group ministry in the lives of kids and teens and community groups for adults! Kids and teens needs adult leaders they can connect with. Adults need a place to slow down and belong. People need to know they are known and cared for and that comes from genuine relationships. Relationships are bigger that that environment you lead!
  • WEBSITE - your website is the information door for your ministry open for parents, kids, and teens 24 hours a day. The ability for people to go back and check out podcasts, register for events, and just get caught up is HUGE for helping people to connect.
  • SOCIAL NETWORKING - yes, Facebook and Myspace are so helpful in connecting with teens and now PARENTS who are staying connected more. You can use both to connect with tons of people.
  • THE CELL PHONE - texting has taken over and it allows us to get quick info and make quick connections with people. When our group leaders need to connect with teens they all use the text message! It is not going away, get used to it!
  • PATIENCE - do not give up on people. They may feel very connected to the environment you lead but just not be ready to make the attendance commitment you would like. You never know when that could change so slow down and be patient.
  • PRAYER - when you notice people are not able to plug in do not worry, PRAY for them. They need that more than our gift of worry over why they did not show.
  • BE AVAILABLE - we need to care about what is going on in other people's lives! Seems simple but meet people where they are. Go to a ball game, go out for coffe. have someone over for dinner. After al of this we have to repeat to ourselves..."Not everyone does life like I do" then move on!
  • BE READY - you never know who will be at the event you lead week in and week out. We might want to give our best and trust God for How He works in hearts and lives. He is kind of IN CONTROL!

Monday, March 2, 2009

HELP, someone did not show up!!!!!

Maybe this is a student ministry phenomenon but so many of us get caught in the...WHO WAS NOT HERE mindset of ministry. It is almost like at every event, gathering, retreat our minds move right past all of people who chose to come and dwell on all the folks missing. Should we check on folks who miss? Sure! Should it consume us with worry? No! I think it comes back to our thinking that our ministry, our plans, our events are the most important things, the only thing that does and should matter. Sounds harsh but you know it is true. We so often think, how could those people who missed, miss, what is so important? Well, they do miss and they will miss and at some point we have serve who is in the room. Why should we miss what God is doing right around us and worry about people who are not even there. In 2009 I am having to come to terms with the fact that at every event, every camp, and every weekly gathering teens are going to have other stuff going on in their lives and they are going to miss what is going on. I hate they will miss it, I want them to experience what is going on, but I am not really in control am I. I think we should all say that together. WE ARE NOT IN CONTROL. I am called to serve people not to control their schedules. Just a thought...serve who is there, encourage those who miss (the stuff we have planned), and drink a diet dew. I really like the dew part!