Been talking with a guy who is in a hurting place. Really hurting. Brothers in his group have decided they don’t like anything this youth guy is doing. The mom, who really isn’t part of the church, just UNLOADED on him with both barrels and extra ammo. Then she hung up. It left this guy shot straight to the heart, by way of damaging him in the gut, too.

What to do? We know hurting people hurt people. We’re in the business of working with broken lives. But what else do we know?

1) Time and truth go hand in hand. Enough time gone by will show where you were right (if you were) and the world will turn right side up again.

2) People were always telling Jesus what he was doing wrong; ways his ministry could be better.

3) No gloating or passive aggressive behavior on your part is ever appropriate or helpful. Don’t withhold doing the right thing just because “I’ll show them. They can’t do it w/o me.”

So…take whatever kernels of truth and plant them in ur mind for future improvement. Leave what’s the other person’s junk and toss it away. Don’t dwell on all-consuming negative thoughts.

After all, hurting kids need you.


Episode 161

 —  May 13, 2011 — Leave a comment

Welcome back Doug Fields with his co-host, Katie Edwards, and his co-co-host Josh Griffin. Dont forget the star of the show Matt McGill. This episode has some crazy stories and questions, so make sure you listen all the way to the end. We have a revenge of the nerds segment to kick off the show listening to Matt go on about Settlers of Katan board game. That ends quickly and they answer your questions about Parent / Student activities for incoming students, weird volunteer stories, using Facebook to confront a student, communicating with students from a past ministry, Cell phone / Internet rules during youth group, medical marijuana use by volunteers and telling parents about students sex life.

Playing Dumb

 —  May 12, 2011 — Leave a comment

Why do girls sometimes play dumb? I say play Because no girl is dumb. Maybe someone along the way taught a girl not to think but really no one is dumb.

It bothers me when girls play dumb…when they don’t do well in school because they just give up. And when they give up there, they usually give up trying to understand the bible or faith…because it just gets to “hard to understand.”

2 thoughts:

First, as female leaders we need to model thinking…and encourage and support our girls to be thinkers.

Second, as male leaders we need to make sure we encourage and support girls to be thinkers. (smile!) Maybe stop telling jokes about girls being dumb too!

Do your girls play dumb? What do you do? Have you ever done homework with your girls?

I’m pumped to be invited to this year’s D6 Conference this September in Dallas. Here’s their latest video, really convicting stuff. For more on d6, hit up this link.


Too many youth workers are running at full capacity with not enough margin to care for themselves or their team. Some of it is self-inflicted in our own brokenness, some of it is the product of a church culture skewed to an unhealthy extreme. Either way, we have a responsibilty as a church to make sure that we are healthy and balanced, not screaming down the path to burnout. If we’re not careful, we could model exactly what not to do to our team. If you want to keep your team and yourself healthy and for a long time – here are a few ideas mixed in with more questions than answers:

Every individual is responsible for their personal growth, but the church culture should share in this pursuit. Does your church regularly offer and/or require volunteers to participate in training events? Is there access to plenty of resources to grow on their own? Is there a culture to share what you are learning with others? People who aren’t trained will eventually grow tired of trying without success, will be crushed under the weight of success, or quietly search for someone who will care for them AND care for what they do. Well-trained people stay longer.

Coaches identify unseen weaknesses, opportunities and motivations. To often people are left in isolation when they need the benefits of an actively engaged coach. When was the last time you nudged someone on your team toward an unseen opportunity? How often do you take time from the pace of ministry and poured into your players? You have so much wisdom, use it to pour into your team! People will in return value the coach and the coaching.

If you want to keep your team together and build youth ministry longevity, you have to protect your people. You may need to protect them from an overreacting parent or even from their own destructive behaviors. You have to protect them with sound policies that focus on caring for them and for your students. Some failure is part of the learning process and healthy, too much can drive someone away or disqualify them for good. Knowing how much to give someone, when to press and when to let up, is an art a leader must master to keep his or her people.

These are critically important for your volunteers – but they’re important for you, too! How are you being trained, coached and protected?


I like what Steven and Matt have going over on – a look at youth ministry through the eyes of a “new to youth ministry” guy and a “too old for youth ministry” guy. Their recent post, The Youth Ministry Elevator, was great. Here’s a clip:

  • There are ups: There are a few weeks where my co-leader and I seem to be right on with what God wanted us to talk about with our boys that night. Whether it’s just being able to connect with the guys and keeping them interested in what we are talking about or if they are opening up more about things in their life, I’ll count that as a win.
  • There are downs: There are more moments than I care to admit that things don’t go the way we want. Maybe we just did a lesson on family relationships and I get a call from a mom that she’s ready to ship her kid off to boarding school…Not exactly a high point in youth ministry.
  • There are stops: There are times when I feel like no matter what we do, we are just not getting anywhere fast with our boys. They seem to track well with the stuff we discuss, but then nothing happens — it’s the status quo. This can be the most frustrating part because you feel like all you’re doing is a waste, and you’re not seeing any fruits of your labor.
  • The final destination: Eventually, you get where you want to be going. Two weeks ago in my group we had a breakthrough night — my co-leader and I picked a topic that all the boys connected with, and a few of our more closed-lipped boys really opened up about some struggles they were facing. That feeling is one that keeps us coming back for more in youth ministry.


Today our HSM Summer Calendar for 2011 went to print – pretty excited about the look and schedule for what’s happening when school is off. I’ll post more about the philosophy behind it soon, too.


I can remember sitting in my high school gym cheering on our school basketball team watching the clock on the wall. I knew that at 9:00pm we would declare war against Iraq. I didn’t really have any idea what it meant…to me or to the world but I remembering being afraid of the unknown. I also remember getting carried away in the basketball game that I didn’t even notice when the time turned 9. I looked at it later…it said it was 9:30pm and I thought to myself, “I guess it doesn’t mean anything (to me)that we are at war.”

The reason I share that story is to ask the question…do girls care about current events? In the last few weeks a lot of things have happened that have impacted “grown-ups” and I wonder if it impacts girls.

Do girls care about current event? Based on my experience…here’s what I would say:

1/3 of girls care- they watch the specials, listen to their parents talk about politics and form opinions. Even of these of girls…I would say that don’t all care about the same current events. Some are interested in the enviroment,some in the war, some in politics..

1/3 of the girls fear current events. These girls don’t understand the issues or watch the shows but they hear enough that it makes them afraid…usually the fear is temporary but for a moment they feel it.

1/3 of the girls don’t ever even mention current events. These girls seem to not care or be aware about what’s happening outside of their school/home world. They know Osama died… but they will probably never talk about it until they are adult and they reference where they were when Osama died.

As youth workers, I think we can be aware of each these types of girls. We can be available to their needs when the world starts to feel crazy to them. I think available to their needs is different than available to share our opinions on the issues. Did your girls care about the Royal Wedding or the news of Osama’s death? Only one of my girls even mentioned either of them.

Do you think it’s important to talk about current events? What do your girls seem to need in the midst of big world news?