POLL: Family Dinners

 —  October 15, 2012 — 1 Comment


This week’s poll was inspired by yesterday’s blog post talking about family dinners. How many nights home do you have family dinner on a normal week? Vote now!

JG


Over the course of the weekend I heard or read several things that made me pause, scratch my head and go, “hmmm….”.

I tend to ponder, to noodle, to chew on. And then I tend to draw a fairly strong conclusion and move on. I haven’t drawn any conclusions on this stuff yet…mostly because I think they are all worth chewing on a little while longer. Most of them weren’t wrapped in a ton of context so I won’t provide much for you. Just statements that are worth pondering, I think.

“Youth Workers Tend To Be Lazy”. Ouch. And stated by a youth ministry expert who doesn’t work in a local church. But worth consideration.

“Social Justice Is The New Legalism”. Zinger. Noodling….noodling….noodling.

“We elevate and idolize family in a way scripture never intended!” Oh, boy! chewing….chewing…chewing….

“Jesus’ pace was slow; ours should be, too”. Pondering….pondering….pondering

There you go. Since most of the readers of this blog are youth workers, and we are a lazy bunch….you should have plenty of time this week to chew on those statements. Don’t instantly dismiss them because there is oftentimes a nugget of truth in the things people of intelligence (and all of these statements were made by sharp minds) have to say.



Good Bye Pandora…

 —  October 15, 2012 — Leave a comment

I am a dedicated Spotify user but those of you who love your internet radio should checkout Stereomood.

Forbs.com describes Stereomood this way, “If Pandora stands as the reigning brain of internet radio, new competitor Stereomood may be its heart. A Rome based internet radio service, Stereomood sorts songs into playlists based on corresponding moods and activities.”

I like that Stereomood adds a human element to digital music but what I like more is discovering new music based on these play lists.  Stereomood is free and yes…there is an app for that. Bounce over to Stereomood , register, login, and listen.

For all of you Apple fanboys and girls out there, you know about the free release of iOS 6. Have you downloaded it yet? The newest update has some great features on it, including a new Maps that has turn-by-turn instructions, the Passbook app that integrates your life and phone use better, and Do Not Disturb feature for your phone.

For the pastors with an iPhone that are not sure if it is worth the 15 minutes that it would take to download and install onto your phone, let me tell you that doing so could save your soul. Seems like a bold statement but hear me out.

We need our rest, we need time with family, and we must have those moments with the Lord. It seems so hard to be able to put margin in our lives, to have the solid boundaries so that we are honoring God, family, and ourselves, and it almost seems selfish when so much hurt is going on. Yet, we always regret when we do not do it.

We Have Good Intentions…
We may have all been there, you have the good intentions of taking 24 hours for a Sabbath, not talking on the phone at supper with your spouse and/or family, and going to bed on time. Unfortunately, “important” phone calls and texts come up that really do not seem so important after the fact, we feel guilty for hitting the ignore button, and we use the excuse that we are not doing anything important. Time with God, family, and for self is VITAL! Thus the Do Not Disturb feature becomes amazing!

Do Not Disturb
Check it out now. Serious, download it, install it, and open it now from Settings > Notifications > Do Not Disturb. I’ll wait.

Okay, you will see the screen below that allows you to turn it on (do it!), schedule when it should block phone calls, and who you will allow phone calls from. I have personally elected to not allow phone calls to come in while I am asleep. My favorites section has family and my supervising pastor only as well as I have turned on the Repeated Calls for those who may have an emergency and call twice in three minutes. No one else has the ability to grab my attention after 10PM and before 7AM.

Why Is This Important?
Too many pastors get distracted because a text message comes up, an email buzzes our phone, or a call comes in from the volunteer of women’s ministry, we take it, and then we undervalue those we are with. To not give your spouse your time could long-term jeopardize your marriage, ignoring your family makes you that father who is there… but not really there, only giving God part of your life is dishonoring.

iOS 6 is the practical way of ensuring you have the boundaries and promoting the priorities you have in life. What other tech tips do you have to ensure you honor the priorities in your life?

Jeremy Smith is a youth worker at the Air Force Academy chapel, working for Club Beyond, and attending Denver Seminary for his Masters of Arts in Counseling Ministries. He has been involved in Youth for Christ for eight years — check out his blog at Seventy8Productions.

 



This weekend we had a 1-off message by Josh Riebock, author of the new book Heroes and Monsters. As part of the opener for the services, Taffy and the gang created a Star Wars opener. The one weekend I’m away and I miss this! Hahahahah … perfection.

JG

During a recent brainstorm of ways to love and serve our local campuses, we decided to focus on ASB (student government). I don’t know about your schools, but our ASB teams work so hard so support and entertain their schools. Because of their hard work, we came up with a few ways to show our support:

-Encouraging Notes. As youth workers, we know how hard it can be to entertain teenagers. Unfortunately, so does ASB. It is rare for these hard working to receive praise or acknowledgement for their effort. Try to get all of the names of the student government at a school and have some of your students write letters to them. Being able to tell the ASB that they are loved and appreciated is a guaranteed win at any school.

-Event Set-Up/Clean-Up. Having your ministry as a whole be available to help them set up and tear down their events can be huge. Sometimes the events that ASB throws are  massive (i.e. dances, shows, etc.) and they require a lot of manpower to pull off. Again, we know how tiring it can be to be the first to arrive to an event and the last to leave, so we know how much it means to have someone offer to help. This is a great way to have your students be servants at their school.

-Bringing Food. This was an idea that one of our students came up with. Offering to bring a home cooked meal on a day that ASB is working late could mean the world to them. And it doesn’t always have to be some extravagant ordeal; it could even be something as simple as brownies or cookies. Putting in that effort could go a long way with showing love to the student government.

-Treat the Director. Don’t forget to include the ASB director! They are the ones that really help pull everything off! They are the ones that are empowering their students to make a difference at their schools. Many of our students’ lives have been changed by being in ASB, so it was so important to us to make that known to the directors. This could be something as easy as a Starbucks card and a handwritten note. Make sure they know how much they are appreciated and make sure they know your ministry is here to support them. Include your contact information so that they can let you know if they could ever use a hand. It is a GREAT way to build relationships with faculty!

We could not be more excited to get moving on all of these projects! Our ministry really believes in putting effort into campus outreach. It makes a huge impact on not just the campuses, but in our students as well.

Supporting ASB is one of the ways we are doing campus outreach, what is your ministry doing to serve the local high schools?

Colton Harker is the Student Leadership Coordinator at Saddleback HSM.  If you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact him at coltonharker@gmail.com or on twitter at @ColtonHarker.



Hey everyone from NYWC 2012!

Thanks for making our youth ministry workshop on small group leaders so fun this weekend — I enjoyed meeting many of you and here are the links from the 99 Thoughts for Small Group Leader workshop that I promised you this weekend:

If you remember something from the session I forgot – let me know in the comments and I’ll track it down for you!

JG

As the phone rings you dread the idea of picking it up.  It’s not about who is on the other line as much as it is what that phone call might do to your day.  As you pick up the receiver you hope it’s a call that’s quick with no follow up.  Phone calls, emails, and paperwork are only a few of the things that clutter our schedule.  The reason they clutter is not because there are many, but because they are disorganized.  And when you are disorganized in what you do, you experience:

BOUNDARY ISSUES
When our boundaries have been violated it’s easy to start throwing around the blame and losing focus on what’s important.  If you are going to have any chance of getting anything done in youth ministry, let alone survive the week you need to know what you are doing and why you are doing them.  This will help you set-up boundaries that are realistic and flexible; yet, will keep you on the right path.  To organize your responsibilities and stay within the boundaries you need to know:

WHAT IS IMPORTANT – It’s easy for a youth minister to become a jack-of-all-trades and a master of none and that’s because of a lack of focus.  If you are going to create any type of boundaries you need to know what has to fill up your day.  To figure this out you need to create a list of everything you do and narrow it down to the five most important responsibilities that only you can do.  The rest can be discarded or delegated.

WHAT IS URGENT – Urgent responsibilities are the unexpected events that have to be done; however, are not planned.  A perfect example is the death or illness of a teen in your ministry.  To work with the unexpected you need to be able to SCHEDULE IN MARGIN and COMMUNICATE WITH THOSE CLOSE TO YOU.  Scheduling in margin will give you leeway when something urgent comes across your desk like a teen in need.  Communicating with those close to you will enable you to talk about when family or personal time might need to be sacrificed.

WHAT IS DISPENSABLE – There are probably habits, meetings and responsibilities that you do that are no longer necessary.  To figure out which ones to keep and which ones to toss, list them and then by each item ask the questions, “What is its purpose?” and “How is this fueling us towards our vision?” If you cannot answer these questions toss them.  If there are ones you should keep but are not necessary for you to accomplish look at passing them on to a trusted volunteer or coworker.

When you can determine the importance and necessity of certain responsibilities you can build a healthy calendar.  The reason you leave an hour later than planned or continue to work at home is because you have organized your day.  After you know what it is you need to do and you paint out that 40 – 45 hour work week, ask God to give you the grace to do it.  After all he wants you to succeed, he doesn’t want you to compromise your family time or Sabbath.  Trust him.

How do you know what’s important, what’s urgent and what’s dispensable for your youth ministry?

Chris Wesley is the Director of Student Ministry at Church of the Nativity in Timonium, MD. You can read more great youth ministry articles and thoughts on his exceptional blog Marathon Youth Ministry.