Monday, October 31, 2005

"This is the sound of the underground"

This is a line from one of my favorite pieces of poetry. The piece is (in it's entirety) a call for Christian discipleship. This line has been rattling around my tiny brain for a while, sometimes subconciously. Yesterday, the thought came into my brain. What if we brought our youth group outreach attempts into the underground? I've thought about doing "outreaches" for our ministry. It seems to me that we might be going at this all wrong. It is not that we need to do away with organized outreaches to non-believers. What I am suggesting is that we become intentional about ministering to non-believers but not advertising it. We spend so much time making big productions to draw in students that a non-believing student really doesn't want to come to. "Come to our rally!" Let's go underground. Let's not advertise or publicize. I have some history with large outreach events, and quite frankly, they do more for believers than the non-believers.

Here is what I am thinking. Pick an evening and grab three or four students. Have each of them invite a few of their non-church friends. Then simply hang out. Maybe it's playing poker or video games. Could be a dinner and movie. The goal is to create times for interaction with non-believers. I know this sounds simple, but that's the point. It is an organized effort to be small, inefficient, and relational. It teaches our students that sharing the gospel can be an everyday event, not some special, planned out affair. I am thinking that this is going to be our outreach ministry. What are your thoughts? Should we do some "big events"?

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

To the Praise of His Glory
This past weekend was amazing. It was so cool to see God work in our community. It wasn't because of anything I had done, but because we were unified. I saw walls broken down (figuratively and literally). I am so blessed to be able to do what I do. It's like God is painting a hugely great painting through our students and I get to stand there watching Him paint every stroke. Sometimes I get to hold the brush, but mostly I get to watch others.

With the finish of the weekend, I was comforted by the fact that God had led me through another milestone in my ministry. There is yet another thing I have under my belt. Each week I am more comfortable with my calling, not in a sense of knowing what I am doing (I still don't), or in a sense of self-sufficiency (or I would lose dependence on our Father), but in a sense of undertstanding my role all the more. In all these things, I praise our Heavenly Father for His provision, equipping, and assurance.

Friday, October 21, 2005

As I sit here, preparations are being finalized for our retreat. Since this is a year of "firsts" for me as a head youth pastor, this is my first retreat. I have taken part in many, many retreats and have even been in on the planning of a couple self-run retreats, but this is the first time everything is on my head. There are details to be covered and lessons to be planned. It has been apparent that I have had a feeling of dread travelling around my body, so much so that my wife reminded me that our students are going to pick up on that dread.

I am looking forward to the weekend the time with students. I am mostly worried that the weekend will be a tremendous flop or worse something really horrible will happen or really worse that spiritual growth won't happen.

Part of the problem is I feel like I am missing something, though I am not. So maybe my dread comes from the stress of being prepared, but not feeling prepared. Oh well.

We're talking about being honest and genuine with one another so I hope that God shakes these students from their coocoons. People today are much more open in their blogs than they are face to face. Life transformation can't happen unless are willing to risk ourselves. So, if you are reading this, please join with us and pray for our students this weekend.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Pit in my Stomach
So, I haven't posted on church for a while so here goes. I hate how I have been so easily seduced by the numbers game. A few weeks ago we hit a record high for our ministry, not since I have been here, but ever. Immediately, my brain starts to pat itself on the back. Obviously I must be doing something right. God's favor is surely with us.

It sickens me, truly sickens me, to think that the enemy can lure me into this dangerous line of thinking. While I am excited that God is bringing people to our group, I am saddened that we can't offer them better care. We have only a few dedicated leaders, which means that the record number of students we have are coming in the door and leaving without getting what they need, someone to take a personal interest in their spiritual wellbeing.

Monday, October 17, 2005


So, today is my birthday (26). This is the first one where I have not felt like it was any different than any other day. I had a breakfast appointment this morning with one of our elders (didn't tell him) and I have a retreat to really get cracking on. I have a small group meeting tonight. I guess I am now at the point in my life where all the big birthdays are multiples of 5's and 10's. You know what, I am ok with that. Every day is special for me. There is sweetness in my love for the Savior. I cherish all the more my relationship with my wife. That is all I really need. I had a sort of obsession with the new iPod video, but I realized how much I really don't need it. Just about the only gift I wanted (Simpson's Season 6) is in my possession.

I can say without any sense of falsehood and with complete sincerity that the greatest gift I have been given is access to the living God through our Lord Jesus. He makes getting up worthwhile. He makes me feel special and significant. Worship of His glorious name makes my heart sing, "Happy (Birth) Day to Me!"

Monday, October 10, 2005

Back from Key West

I would say that our vacation was a success. Plenty of sun, sleep, food and swimming. It was the first time in a long time I was able to forget about ministry and simply recharge. What the wifey and I really enjoyed was that it was one of our more active vacations. We did a lot of walking around the shops. We even took a day sail on a catameran (sp?) where we snorkeled and kayaked. It was great! There was also a ton of fresh fish to be had. I love eating mahi and shrimp and scallops. Mmmmm. What is even better is that when we got home my sister, brother-in-law, and baby niece came to visit. She is such a cutie. I am enjoying how life is becoming more stable and I am able to see my family across the generations. I am no longer the baby of the family. But am able to see both the past and the future of our family. It is a cool place to be.