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Today we hit on the foundation of good youth ministry: Love God, love students.

Love God

This is the first love—our hearts must be centered and aligned with his in order to do genuine and effective ministry. You can fake it, but frauds are always found out. A counterfeit youth pastor won’t make it long-term—and the key to being genuine is to be in a genuine, daily walk with The Father. We all endure seasons of spiritual dryness, but make sure it’s the rare interlude to sincere spiritual health. Remember, you’re discipling your students with your life; make sure it’s centered in the right place.

THIS WEEK: Take a little time to evaluate your spiritual health. Usually, you instinctively know where you currently stand, so don’t try to talk yourself out of your gut reaction. There is nothing more important in your life/office/to-do list than your walk with Jesus. Ask your supervisor for a spiritual retreat day. Call up a mentor and savor the wisdom in his or her words. Eat a meal alone. Talk to the person who is draining you, or finally have that conversation you’ve been dreading that’s been distracting you from truly loving God. Love Jesus more than you love youth ministry.

Love Students

For most, this comes pretty easy…it’s the reason you got into this gig—but at times students can be needy or draining. When spending time with students suddenly feels tough, fight through the temptation to focus on tasks and be constrained to your church office. Get out and be with students. We’ve both discovered through the years that the very best way to stay in love with students is to simply be around them!

THIS WEEK: Adjust your schedule to spend a little more time with students. Linger in a conversation with a student you would normally brush off. Look for opportunities to show up in a big way for a family in need.

This post was written by Josh Griffin and Kurt Johnston and originally appeared as part of Simply Youth Ministry Today free newsletter. Subscribe to SYM Today right here.

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Random Randomness

 —  April 26, 2012 — 4 Comments

- last night, we brought our JH small groups together formal lesson the nature and attributes of God. One of my points was that God has both male and female characteristics. While cleaning up, I found a note written from one JH boy to another that is an insant classic that I will hold onto for a long time: “Dude, if women were molded after God then he has BOOBS!”

- I hate when I put people in awkward situations. Sadly, I’ve recently put somebody I care for in a tough spot with some of his closest friends. Stupid, but totally unintentional. Taking steps to rectify it. Relationships are messy things, aren’t they? I understand why so many folks don’t do the hard work of keeping things healthy and God-honoring when it is so much easier to ignore problems, walk away from relationships, etc. But the easier way is a,most never the right way.

- This could be its own post….or an article…or a book: I wonder through what avenue the largest amount of authentic conversions are taking place. Are the expert bloggers, church critics, “thought leaders” etc (regardless of theological leanings) truly reaching people for Christ? Are the churches they seem determined to chastise doing a much better job? Are Missional churches seeing more kingdom impact than attractional churches? Are individuals being “salt and light” and “good news” in their neighborhoods and at work actually having faith conversations? I’m inclined to assume all of the above are seeing fruit of their labors which makes me wonder why we are so quick to force each other into camps.

- heading out to emcee BELIEVE in Holland, Michigan this weekend then spending Monday and Tuesday at Willow Creek with Scott Rubin, Brooklyn Lyndsey and others creating the scope and sequence for a 3rd year of JH LIVE curriculum as well a a two year Pre-teen LIVE curriculum.

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I am not sure why this has come to the front of my mind this week, but I feel that we need to have a chat about it. We are all adults here, many of us work in Churches, send lots of email but I have to ask……

What’s up with the awkward email signatures? I mean, is there a rule I didn’t know about that we need to prosthelytize  one another over email.


Grace and Peace, 

Grace, Peace and Blessings

For Him

In Christ’s Service

For His Glory

In His Grip (Jon Acuff)

Your Eternal Dividends Are Assured 

By His stripes we are healed


Every time I get to the end of an email I panic and think, will I sound like a fool if I write this, am I less of a Pastor for not putting some sort of Christianese encouragement awkwardness in there?

What do you sign off your email with? What would you never sign off with? 

-GS  Twitter

Weekend Teaching Series:  Brainwashed: The Big 10 (week 2 of 3)
Sermon in a Sentence: A look at the principles of the 10 commandments from the perspective of the world and perspective of God.

Service Length: 67 minutes

Understandable Message: This week Parker took the stage to teach students week 2 of this series, building on last week’s walking in light or walking in darkness foundation. He did a great job of walking quickly through each of the 10 commandments and comparing the perspective of the world and God’s Way. He used a bow and arrow on stage to demonstrate missing the mark. Really, really strong message in concept and execution.

Element of Fun/Positive Environment: This week we continued our programmed-in greeting time: this week we renamed it 124 seconds. Just over 2 minutes to meet the people that are around you and chill a little with your friends. I love this idea – it gives a great opportunity for our students to connect as well as weekend leaders to get a few names and in on a few conversations. We also had a couple of funny videos and lots of students serving on cameras, lights, sound greeting inside and outside the room.

Music Playlist: How Great Thou Art, Savior of the World, All I Am, One Things Remains, Came to My Rescue

Favorite Moment: My favorite moment was NOT being at youth group this weekend. I was being dad all weekend while my wife escaped to our annual Staff Wives Retreat. I got a whole bunch of texts letting me know that youth group was awesome – that’s a HUGE gift from a great team of people working hard to pull it off!

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

Couldn’t be more excited to co-host the D6 Conference this year in Dallas, TX this September. Just watched the video to help promote this year and got pumped to learn, listen and soak up what God is going to teach us over those 3 days. Going to be great! Hope you’ll consider being a part of the event, too! Here’s the lab description:

Lab # 1 – Reaching “That One Kid”
Every ministry has one. Maybe you’ve been “gifted’ and have more than your fair share of that “one” kid. In this workshop, Josh Griffin will help you learn how to effectively minister to the kids who are the most difficult in your ministry. He’ll admit that he was “that one kid” and how God used great leaders to reach him. And he’ll also need to explain the overuse of “air quotes” in this workshop description. 301