I just returned from helping out at Group’s Large Church Youth Ministry Summit. It was three days of really good discussion and I left with a ton of things to chew on and think about. Here are a few unrelated nuggets of wisdom and insight that I need to chew on.

- Jesus’ style of leadership could perhaps be best described as “Surprising”. He was constantly surprising those around him.

- Leadership is as much intuitive as it is strategic.

- It may be that volunteers on our teams need looser parameters, not tighter ones. Make their ministry “box” bigger.

- Most of the time, our failures or mistakes in ministry can be turned into incredible opportunities to learn a leadership principle if we are willing to make the effort.

- Historically, it seems like God uses reluctant leaders much more often than those who “really want to lead”.

- Leadership is “fluid”, or “liquid” which means as a leader you need to know your leadership style etc. but be willing and able to lead differently in different scenarios.

There were more sound bites, but those are the ones that stick out in my mind. And those will have to suffice because I left my notes in Colorado!

Just shot a few quick “I love you” videos for my kids to watch while I’m gone on the HSM Road Trip. I hope they get a kick out of them while I’m away.


Ask yourself a few questions today:

  • what am I doing that a volunteer should be doing?
  • what am I dreaming but not doing a volunteer could own?

Two examples of how this is working out for HSM right now:

1) I love the internet, I love blogs, websites and social media. In my current position, I can’t concentrate on it, and even in our 5-year plan it didn’t look hopeful we would get to focus on it until late 2009 or 2010 at the earliest. Enter the volunteer. Dennis, a super volunteer with the perfect skill set to take this one, is just two months later owning this entire project. He is blogging, managing our contact lists, expanding our influence in social media, and soon live streaming our student services. What entire project could you hand off to a capable and passionate volunteer today?

2) I love set design – the problem is, I’m allergic to physical labor. Put me in front of a keyboard and I’ll run circles around you, but with a table saw I’m 90% likely to cut off one of my own appendages. So there sits the dream. Enter the volunteer. Steve is the most amazing and hardworking weekend volunteer we have. He shows up before the office staff does on the weekend and thrives on working with his hands and problem solving. Here’s his vision for his first set design – one for our upcoming road trip series:


Now obviously, he doesn’t have Photoshop skills, but I’d bet you $100 his set will be super cheap and totally awesome. What dream are you sitting on you need to hand off to a capable and passionate volunteer today?


Missed this yesterday – but if watch the following video you could win 40 movie tickets for your youth group. Hit this link to head to the contest homepage, this is all part of Simply Youth Ministry’s annual 40|40|40 sale.



Simply Youth Ministry just kicked off their incredible 40|40|40 Sale – the best youth ministry resources they’ve got are 40% off regular price. The only catch is that the sale only lasts for 40 hours! Such good stuff on sale – head over there and check it out!


Weekend Wrap Up

 —  June 8, 2009 — 2 Comments

Teaching Topic: A “One Hit Wonder” (not part of a series) called What Matters Most. Next weekend is our annual 8th grade weekend in which students run the entire program so this was my last time to speak to our outgoing 8th graders.

Lesson Length: I broke the lesson into two halves, separated by some programming elements and music. Combined the lesson was 20:18.

“Fun Factor”: It was a fairly mellow program, but really fun. We introduced our 3 Summer interns by using them to answer various “Would Your Rather” questions.

Music: Above average in quality, but below average in band enthusiasm and stage presence. Lately, it seems as though our bands are lacking a little bit of excitement and energy as they lead. BUT…..still so fun to have students leading the way!

Attendance: A little bit above average for this time of year.

Volunteer Involvement: Low. In a couple weeks we are changing up some aspects of our program in an attempt to give our adult leaders a little more ownership and involvement.

Shared Hope

 —  June 7, 2009 — 6 Comments

We were robbed a few months ago – if you didn’t catch the story, you can here – and here’s “the rest of the story.”

This week we got the check from the insurance company – my first thoughts were, of course, to replace her wedding ring or replace the purity ring she gave me on our wedding day. In fact, just today we celebrated 13 years of marriage.

But my wife wanted to do something else, and when she told me I was blown away. She wanted to give 10% to the church and all of the rest to an organization called Shared Hope International. They specialize in rescuing little girls from childhood prostitution. Here’s a copy of the note she wrote them this past week:

Dear Shared Hope,

I’ve been praying about how to give more to rescue the little girls. This $1,100 check is an answer to prayer. In April, we had a robbery and all of my jewelry was stolen. I knew immediately that if we received any insurance money, I would send it to you. For 3 weeks prior to the robbery, my thoughts and dreams were consumed by how to help these precious children. So in a way this robbery was a direct answer to my prayer. Ironically, one of the items stolen was my purity ring given to me by my dad 18 years ago. May God use its value to restore the purity of other little girls.

Thank you for all you do,

You are richer when you give – that’s the lesson I’m still learning this week.


In my last post I mentioned that one of my observations about Willow Creek’s middle school ministry was that their middle school pastor, Scott Rubin, seems to be much more of a teacher than a communicator which, in my opinion, was something that helped the large ministry feel smaller and more personable. To be honest, I’m not even sure I know what that means, exactly, but it really felt evident while I was listening to Scott teach. I’m hoping Scott will read this post and weigh in with some thoughts because I think trying to quantify some of the differences between “teaching” and “communicating” will be an interesting challenge.

I hope you will add your thoughts as well. Is there a difference? If so, what are they? Which is more effective and in what setting? The list of questions could go on and on. To get things started, here area few of my initial, but not totally thought out, ponderings:

- It seems like the smaller the youth group, the more “teaching” happens while larger crowds seem to have more “communicating”. I would possibly define teaching for this discussion as something like learner-based, interactive and instructional where communicating may be presenter-based, non-interactive and inspirational. Not sure those are the best definitions.

-Communicators try to capture the crowds attention and keep them engage through a high quality presentation. Teachers try to capture the crowds interest and keep them engage through interaction, student involvement, posing questions etc.

- Communicators usually hope their message was “good”. Teachers usually hope theirlesson was “meaningful”

Based on some of these comparisons are you more of a communicator or a teacher? Note: I’m more of a communicator. I may not be a good one, but that’s my style.

What are the strengths and weaknesses of each style?

What are other differences?

Are my comparisons fair?

What do you want to add to the conversation?