In the last 24 hours I have read about (another) set of “famous” pastors leaving the pulpit because they were caught. There were allegations of mishandling money, affairs and other issues that had come to light (not all from one leader).

These stories keep coming to my doorstep.These are people in ministry who have given their lives to serving Christ, yet, they are falling down.The higher the pedestal the harder they seem to fall.Those with a name make the news. However, there is barely a week that goes by when I am not talking to someone in ministry who has or is struggling with affairs, porn addiction, divorce, or some portion of their life crumbling at the seams.

It has made me truly evaluate my own heart and the reality that I too am one step away from making these decisions. My heart breaks because none of us are immune to something like this happening, no NOT one.

What can I do to “protect” myself and my family?

1.  Know I Am Never That Important:

We say something someone likes and it just might go viral. We might have a little idea that lots of people like for today. John Acuff wrote a post last week, HERE on “Why Some Christian Leaders Fail.” He made the point that God is never “handcuffed by our failure or unleashed by our success.” Basically, God being glorified isn’t contingent on us.The Lord may choose to use me in a way that reaches multitudes. He may decide in my whole life I pour into one person. In His eyes both are “successful.” It’s about knowing I’m His and being with Him. It’s easy to puff up our importance because today people like to hear what we have to say.

2. Ask, “Is This Best For My Family Right Now?”

There are a lot of people talking about soul care, marriage and family ministry these days. All of these would say to, “Put your relationship with God first, take care of your family and then do ministry.” Unfortunately, the model follows with them traveling and speaking, AWAY from their family A LOT of the time. Maybe this works for them. However, it doesn’t for my family, or honestly for many of us. I had someone tell me recently if I really wanted my coaching and training  to “take off” then I had to commit to taking all speaking engagements that come my way. I have done that, and it didn’t work for us. I have met many spouses of those busy in ministry who are miserable, but feel “guilty” admitting it. Just because something is an awesome opportunity doesn’t mean it is best for you, your relationship with Christ, or your family.

3. Honestly, Is Ministry My God?

We can be out “doing” for God 7 nights a week. I recently was asked  to interview with a church that required “6 days of work.” You know what, I have done that without it being a requirement. There was a time when I was out almost every night until 9:00 or 10:00 p.m. We never ate dinner as a family, I was exhausted, and I rarely saw my husband. I felt like I had to do more, be more, and offer more in the guise of “ministry.” That was until my husband sat me down and said, “You are losing us. Who is your God in this-Christ or what you do for Him?” I am thankful he called me out before he was so fed up it was “over.” I am also grateful I heard him.

4.  Accountability:

The busier we are the easier it is to go through the motions, with our relationship with Christ. Our own importance can “go to our head” as they say. We can think, “That person is so public how could this happen?”  I think the larger the scope the easier it is to hide our sins. Accountability systems are KEY. Who in your life is in your face asking you how you and Jesus are doing? Who will you listen to? Most important are you willing to admit that ANY of us are susceptible to ANY sin at ANY time? It only takes one choice.Think Adam and Eve.One choice.

I can’t reiterate enough how close we all are to choosing to walk away from Christ, instead of with Him.There are a variety of reasons. However, I think we have to start with being aware that we may never make the news, but we just might lose everything. None of us are immune.The wide gate which leads to destruction, never becomes less appealing. Instead, it has a really attractive wrapper. If it didn’t, we wouldn’t be falling.

What are you doing to protect yourself from choosing the wrong path?

Leneita / @leneitafix

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Thanks for loving students!

Jake Rasmussen

Call Jake at 866.9.simply with questions

Happy April Fools’ Day Insiders!

Here at Simply Youth Ministry we have been brainstorming good office pranks. Among the honorable mentions we have:

Kidnapped:
Take an item from the victim’s office (something they use a lot such as a special coffee cup, stapler, pencil cup, etc.). Take a picture of the item and leave it on the victim’s desk (in the same spot where the item was located), along with a “ransom” note.

JELLO Desk:
Refrigerate different items from the victim’s desk space in Jello!

Post-it Plague:
Cover everything- literally everything- in post-it notes so that the victim has to take them off one by one in order to start any work.

Christmas Wrap-up:
Find the person with the least Christmas spirit and wrap every item on and in their desk in tacky wrapping paper. (This one actually happened in our office.)

Rick-Roll Calls:
Many of you may remember the Rick-Roll epidemic last summer at Simply Youth HQ. If not, you must try this out. What happens is a “mystery” individual calls and poses as other people through this prank call site. When the person answers, they are blasted out with a cheesy 80′s pop jam until they can stand it no longer and hang up.

Also, Jeff Storm put a giant fake tarantula on Andy Brazelton’s chair this morning who then screamed like a girl. :)

But the best office pranks of all are those done by Jim and Pam to Dwight on The Office. Our favorites from them are desk supplies in the vending machine and a Jim impersonator. Get the best ideas from the highlight video below:

Have fun getting everyone for April Fools’ today! The team that laughs together, sticks together… :P

We want to know.. what are your April Fool’s pranks on your youth team or students??

Amber / @youthministry



It’s time to face the facts.

Less than 20% of the American population is attending church in a typical week. To get to the bottom of the declining popularity of church, When God Left The Building, a new documentary from Group Productions, gives a revealing look at a church that has seen its attendance plunge from 900 to 40, a pastor who doesn’t know who or what God is, and a faction of angry ex-members that devises a plan to take over the church.

But the film also highlights innovative new forms of church that are thriving. These range from a ministry in a Pennsylvania pub to an outreach in Los Angeles that brings joy to skid-row moms.

By the end of the film, viewers will EXPERIENCE HOPE and a refreshing glimpse into how faith may be pursued in the future. Director of When God Left the Building, Thom Schultz, says that people will see the following:

• Why today’s people, especially younger generations, are staying away from church.
• A church that lost its way after its people lost sight of its true mission.
• How dangerous discord brought a church to its knees.
• The inspirational story of a church that transformed its community.
• A congregation that dared to move from “we’ve always done it this way” to fresh, life-changing ministries.

The first screening will take place at the Lifetree International Film Festival in Colorado at the Rialto Theater in Loveland on April 12, 2014. There will be later screenings in Massachusetts, New York, and Pennsylvania.

Watch the official trailer below:

To learn more and to purchase tickets to see this honest look into the state of the American church, visit www.WhenGodLeftTheBuilding.com, where you can also sign up to receive alerts for when a showing will be near you or to host a screening at your own church!

Check out the current screening dates and locations below:

Screenings_WGLB

Thanks for being awesome leaders in the church!

Amber / @youthministry

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Thanks for loving students!

Jake Rasmussen and the SYM Team

Call Jake at 866.9.simply with questions



Random Randomness

 —  March 27, 2014 — 3 Comments

random

A variety of Randomness!

* What is the best book/tool/resource you’ve come across clearly explaining and helping teenagers articulate and share the Gospel?

* Saw Divergent last night. Although it wasn’t completely true to the book (movies rarely are…isn’t that true, Noah?), it managed to “feel” like the book, to me. Watching it pretty much felt like I imagined things to feel when I was reading the series.

* So many lessons to be learned from the World Vision happenings the last few days. Chief among them is how quickly news, opinion and commentary travel in today’s small world.

* By Mid-summer, Saddleback will have launched youth ministry in three of our international churches (Buenos Aires, Manilla and Hong Kong). Exciting stuff! Challenging stuff! Good times ahead!

* The two youth ministry books I’m most excited about right now:
Jesus Centered Youth Ministry by Rick Lawrence
- Can I Ask That? by Jim Candy, Brad Griffin and Kara Powell (actually more of a curriculum than a book…)

* Tonight I have the joy of attending the first ever parent gathering for parents at one of our smaller campuses. Lalo, our new Youth Pastor in Huntington Beach, is an amazing young leader who has made the wise decision to make ministry to parents one of his early goals. Can’t wait to be a fly on the wall tonight!

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Thanks for loving students!

Jake Rasmussen and the SYM Team

Call Jake at 866.9.simply with questions