“Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Watch your words, for they become actions. Watch your actions, for they become habits. Watch your habits, for they become character. Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.” -Frank Outlaw

We are given the privelege of making our own choices. This doesn’t mean we always choose what is best for us because, let’s face it, decisions are not always easy to make. Temptations get in the way and sometimes we like to take the easy, more comfortable way of doing things. An occasional slip up is not detrimental to our character. It is when we make the slip ups habits that they begin to have an effect on character.

Thankfully, we serve a God who forgives and loves at all times. A Father who gently redirects us each time we do get off track. His kindness and goodness is no excuse to keep on slipping up though. Because He gives us the privilege of making our own choices, we have the responsibility to do what we know is right no matter the cost. Otherwise, habitually doing the wrong thing will eventually cost us everything we’ve got!

Our habits should be healthy, wholesome, straight up good for you habits. Habits like walking in love as Jesus did with a servants heart, taking care of our mental state and our bodies, abiding in our Heavenly Father, and becoming the best you, you can be!

“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9

Ashley Fordinal is the Children Church volunteer at Family Life Church in Sulphur Springs, TX.

I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living.
• Dr. Seuss

Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.
• Dr. Seuss

I’m glad we had the times together just to laugh and sing a song, seems like we just got started and then before you know it, the times we had together were gone.
• Dr. Seuss

Imagine if Dr. Suess had a student ministry of some kind. It would be a fun and whimsical place. I think his youth group would be decorated for fun. His games would be positive and silly. The messages would be captivating, they would take you on a journey that ends with a powerful message. I think Dr. Suess would make a great youth worker.

I find the image of Dr. Suess as a youth worker inspiring. In fact I even use some of his books to start discussion. I use One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish to teach students about how God has created them to be unique. I use the Lorax to teach about how God wants us to be good stewards of the earth.

I find so often in my own ministry that I can be dry, stale, dull. I may be saying something powerful; sculpted out of my best theological work; but it lacks lustre. I might be teaching a message but everything leading up to it was boring. When those moments come, I search for new inspiration.

As summer is upon us, I would encourage you to take inspiration from Dr. Suess. Try something new and exciting as you go through the fall. Or perhaps you just need time to gear up for the fall, plan something fun with a powerful punch. Who knows you might even learn something from an old cat in a hat.

Kyle Corbin has been serving youth as a volunteer or pastor for over 10 years. He is currently the youth pastor at the Bridge Church in North Vancouver B.C. You can follow his blog at: kylecorbin.blogspot.com or Twitter: @CorbinKyle



This post is generated from a dare I received from members of a “dear to my heart” team of youth countdown-clockworkers: the “In The Trenches Team.” These are amazing folks who’ve been woven together from the strong threads of the Simply Youth Ministry Conference and breathe youth ministry. So here you are, Ben Halsch and David John Perez, as I sit at 36K ft winging my way from Houston to Minn so I can catch a plane to Phoenix. (Talk about time zones.)

1) “Summer in YM” Time Zone: This is best described as “buy a new air mattress and a new pair of good flip flops” because both are key to arriving at the end of the summer in one piece. I personally don’t wear flip flops the rest of the year so I always have to go through a pre-conditioning time for the space between my toes so the thingamajiggy on the flip-flops doesn’t give me a blister.

2) “Adjustable Church Office Hours” Time Zone: There are a few times of the year where office hours are best left in the “I won’t watch your hours if you don’t watch mine” zone. This time zone includes Summer and the week between Christmas and Easter.

3) “After the Youth Go Back to School But Before Church Programming Starts Again” Time Zone: This is the greatest two week period of the year and can also be known as “the youth pastors’s vacation.” (Not to be confused with mission trips or summer camp which some church members mistakenly call “the youth pastor’s vacation. #$&%*)

4) The “Why Clean the Youth Room; its Summer” Time Zone: Awwww, who am I kidding? This is an “all year long” time zone for many youth peeps.

5) “Lesson Shmesson” Time Zone: Known in some areas “officially” as the “Let’s talk about cultural topics” time zone, it’s really the “I don’t feel like preparing a lesson; let’s just hang tonight” zone.

Maybe I’m not setting a good example here. Hope no SP’s are reading this.

Stephanie

USB

In my deal sightings today I would a killer deal you might want to get in on. Right now (9:20am Friday May 24) Amazon has a 128GB USB Flash Drive for under $80. My first computer cost $650 and only had a 256MB harddrive. If you need more portable storage this is a great deal!



Had a chance to getaway with some of our youth ministry leadership team the past couple of days and really process some of the common pitfalls that youth pastors face as they navigate ministry. My mind has hovered around particularones that I have personally witnessed in my recent experience in youth ministry:

  • Overspending or misuse of church funds
  • Inappropriate relationships
  • Compromising staff/church policies

Let’s talk money
Want to avoid the common pitfall of mismanaging money? You need to know how to budget – for your church and yourself. Make sure you know your church’s culture for spending, get informed on spending expectations, what is or isn’t OK to purchase, and your church’s accounting policies and best practices. What is the real story behind the budget line you were given at the annual meeting. Save your receipts. Turn in reports on time. Be generous with scholarships and stingy with things that directly benefit you. Make handling money a top priority and honor the tithe money people sacrificed to give.

Let’s talk boundaries
I’ve seen several youth workers leave ministry recently because they didn’t stay faithful to their spouse, or flirted with danger as an unmarried youth worker. Don’t fall into this common trap! Don’t become another of the alarming youth ministry statistics. Allowing the possibility in your mind is the first step in a downward spiral that ends with compromises, secrets, lies and eventually your job. Make sure you have someone who is allowed full access to your online world and has the freedom to call you out if and when they see warning signs you might be in danger.

Let’s talk staff covenants
Many churches have a signature-required lifestyle covenant you agree to when you come on staff or take on a volunteer leadership role. Your integrity is on the line when you break that agreement. If you agree to it – no matter how absurd the rule may be – stick to it! Signing a covenant like this than publicly derailing it is a sign of immaturity and lacks integrity in your leadership.

Handle church financial stuff well. Keep clear boundaries with the opposite sex. Have integrity when it comes to the staff covenants you sign. What are other common youth ministry pitfalls and how do you avoid them?

JG

A follow-up to last week’s guys eHarmony video for the guys is this week’s over the top dating profile for the ladies. Died laughing!

JG



5_things_guyswantgirlstoknow

Weekend Teaching Series: Crazytown (week 2 of 3)
Sermon in a Sentence: 5 Things Guys Wish Girls Knew
Service Length:71 minutes

Understandable Message: This week was another huge hit with students – we covered 5 things from guys that they wanted girls to know. I mashed up some very insightful conversations with guy students, my personal experiences and what the Bible says into a fun talk on relationships and sex. It was super fun to talk frankly with the students and push them into really thinking about the choices they are making and the consequences of a life outside of God’s path. Excited to make this into a resource for others to use in the future as well, too!

Element of Fun/Positive Environment:We had a great weekend planned – we played a hilarious new screen game called Taylor Swift Lyric or Lamentations that was one of the most clever games we’ve ever played. We also had a fun dating video spoof and lots of student involvement. Great energy on a tough weekend (prom at one of our key high schools) and met several students for the first time, too!

Music Playlist: Heart Attack (Demi Lovato cover), Hosanna, Divine and Holy

Favorite Moment: I’m really proud of Travis, he is our new weekend guy and is doing a GREAT job planning the program and keeping things on track. What a great series this has been – 1 more week to go!

Up next: Crazytown (series finale, week 3 of 3)

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 As pictures of Oklahoma have crossed my screen, I realize we are just now digging out of the wake of Hurricane Sandy here in the Northeast.  Friends in  Massachusetts and Newtown, CT are still putting their lives back together.  There are times when “tragedy” doesn’t make the news.  A good friend of mine almost lost his life last week in a freak accident.  A pregnant wife at the end of our street lost her husband this past Fall to a stray bullet.  Bad things happen to good people.  Bad things happen.  We are left so often dealing through our own questions while simultaneously answering them for our students.

What Do We Say?

1.  There Are No Easy Answers

The “Why” questions come fast and furious.  It is important to let students wrestle through the “tough stuff.”  Let them know you struggle to understand as well.  However,  we live in a world with sin and evil.  There is a true adversary “seeking who he can devour.”  This isn’t “God’s fault.”   In the end we will never fully understand how this war for our souls works.  It is important that students understand this isn’t a grand punishment.  There are times when all we can do is listen to the hurt.  We must allow them to grieve and express their anger.  It isn’t helpful to tell them “not to feel something.”  What is vital is we don’t allow them to stay in this place.

2.  There Is Still Hope

In the midst of Sandy a good friend of mine reminded me,  ”God is still good,  it’s circumstances that are bad.”   It is hard to imagine that  God  would “allow” tragedy to happen.  Our focus needs to be on the truth that He still loves us.  He is fighting for us.  It is a reminder that this broken world is not our “true home.”   Christ tells us while we are here there will always be hurt, trials, and sin.   Jesus is the answer in the midst of all that goes wrong.  It doesn’t mean we stop grieving.  However,  we must remember there is still hope even in the worst situations.  We must remind students He never leaves us or abandons us, even in the middle of the “bad.”

3. It’s Alright To Cry & Ask for Help

Comfort, prayer, and support are great ways to show the love of Christ in terrible situations.  When you are stunned in the midst of a tragedy you tend to think you “must be strong,”   or fall apart completely.   Let them talk it out.  Let them know strong emotion in the midst of this is normal. Hold them, and show them love.

I am not going to claim to understand  tornadoes, hurricanes,  bombs and gunmen. All  I know is when we made the choice to disobey the Lord in the garden and know the difference between good and evil, innocence was lost.  Christ came to redeem our souls,  but that doesn’t negate all sin in the world.  What I do know in the midst of the questions He remains Lord of all whose love is unfailing.   He is the one we have to look to for hope.  This is who I offer students.  Sometimes there are no words at all.   That’s alright too.