There is no shortage of content on the internet.

Case in point, check out this unique video that is a thematic mash-up of the old video game Street Fighter and the randomness of church ministry:

(thanks to David John Perez for the find)

If you’re like me, you’ll be laughing in an instant. I had a few moments where I couldn’t stop laughing, in fact.

Thankfully, the video is over seven minutes long. This gave me a little more time to think about what I was watching.

I’m all for laughing at myself as a Christian. There are plenty of resources that provoke this, such as media that mocks how church can seem like a Starbucks to great blogs like the one Jon Acuff writes. I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s walked away from such creative content and thought, “I’m so glad to know I’m not the only one who thinks it’s odd that we slap stick-figure fish on our vehicles, and then war it out with evolutionists by making our fish eat their mockery of our fish.”

So back to the video – as I was having fun enjoying the archaic video game sound effects over mass healing services, I was reminded…

those are healing services.

People with real afflictions came in to seek something from God.

They’re desperate. They’ve been given little hope everywhere else.

Granted, in my right mind I wouldn’t go to such stage presentations that seem more theatrical than spiritual. Then again, am I right in my mind about that? If my kid was sick and I heard a guy was coming to town who has a reputation for healing, would I endure the hot stage lights and his hair-sprayed helmet head so my son or daughter could know the touch of God?

“Hadouken!”

(that’s “Street Fighter” for “Amen!”)

What do you think – as we circulate these with our Christian friends or share them with youth group kids…

are we doing more good than harm… or more harm that good?

I’m sure there will be some quick replies on this, and we may even toss out classic ideas like “Balance… everything in moderation.”

So before you answer, consider:

But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not himself dare to condemn him for slander but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” (Jude 1:9)

But among you there must not be… obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. (Ephesians 5:3-4)

When God places you in a role of leadership, it is not to be taken lightly. He wants to live through you and wants to make a life changing impact in the lives you come in contact with. To do this, you have got to be willing to lead by example so they will have someone to imitate. “Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.” (Hebrews 13:7)

Living in transparency
We all have short comings. It is important to allow others to see that in you. It is especially when you are in a role of leadership and all they ever see is the perfect side of you. I like to invite the children in my ministry into my world and allow them to live in my imperfect world if only for a moment. I show them it is okay to be imperfect and God can and will still use you anyway. “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)

Love when it hurts
“Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is born of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God–for God is love.” (1 John 4:7-8) Love does not stop loving when it doesn’t feel good anymore. Love keeps on loving even when it hurts. It goes to enormous lengths to comfort, to guide, to protect and to lead. With God’s love, we can lead our youth to Jesus.

Speak life
Whether with your youth at church, at a concert or at home; you should watch the words you choose. Words have the power to either lift someone up or drag someone down. It is never okay to speak down on someone even if it is only meant for fun. We are raising up planet shakers and our words should reflect just that. Speak life into your youth group. Speak life to the kid who no one would give a second look. God has incredible plans for each of them. Speak life, see life.

Let’s take our leadership role seriously and choose to lead by example, allowing God to use us to positively impact the lives of the youth of tomorrow.

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



Pizza nights, Slurpee runs, late night runs to McDonald’s, loads of chips and pop.

These sound like some of the awesome things that make a fellowship fun in youth ministry. Donuts, coffee, pie, potlucks, these are the things that make church fellowship excellent. People bond over food and drinks. Look at your house, people congregate around the kitchen. Look at a party, people are where the food is.

I don’t know about you, but I love food. Now I don’t think you could call me a true foodie (largely because I’ll eat anything from fast food to fancy food) but you can certainly bet that if something delicious is out I’m not far away.

As a youth pastor I am constantly around junk food, and pop. I love the stuff, but I have to resist eating it.  This past January I was hit with the harsh reality that I was seriously overweight. I had always known I was a little on the “husky side” but I had pushed beyond that and gone into a category all of its own “obese”. Now I hate the word, because many people can’t get around it but the fact of the matter is that I hit that level on a medical chart. So I decided I would do something about, I started exercising more and trying to eat better. Since January of last year I have lost 35lbs, slipping back down into the category of “overweight”. That isn’t crazy fast weight loss, but it is great because I have still been eating what I want( for the most part) and I haven’t regained even when my exercise or eating have spun back out of control for a day or week or two.

So why am I talking about this. I am not talking about it because I want praise, I am not talking about it because I think that I have gone from HUGE to tiny. I am talking about it because when I look around at the many youth pastors and church staff I know as a whole, I see a lot of overweight people. We have a calling to work with people, our jobs require us to be at a desk often working, studying, emailing and praying. These are parts of the job that are required, so we can’t put them off. But what is going on with our waistlines. Its scary they are ever growing!

I feel like it needs to be said: “Youth workers, Pastors, friends we need to lose some weight”. There are a few reasons why I think we need to lose it:

1) We are called to be good stewards in life
This is a stewardship of our ministry, our family life, our money and yes even our own bodies. If we don’t take care of our bodies, we are actually hampering our ministry. Whether we like to admit it or not, being overweight will eventually cause what we eat to come back to bite you. (pun intended). We will have health problems directly relating to our eating and body weight.

2)  We are examples to those we work with
We are examples to the people we work with. As christian leaders we strive to show good habits of reading scripture, worshipping God, treating people with respect and leading a life of health and balance.  But when it comes to the pastors I know, we often have a bit of a problem with eating and self control. If we want to be good examples, we should strive to have balance in every aspect of life.w

3) For your family
Do it for your wife, your husband, your kids or your grandchildren. I currently have no kids but I do have a wife and my weight directly affects her. It affects her in my level of energy, since I have been exercising more and eating better I have had more energy to go do fun things with her. And I have even been able to serve her better because I’ve been cleaning and cooking with some of my spare energy!( I’ll tell you that she loves it!)

While I am still young I can’t help but think of the long term, I hope to be a healthy and active grandparent one day. I look at my grandfather and because of obesity we never went out and did much together. But when I look at my wife’s one set of grandparents they are in their 80′s and go hiking weekly and we go sailing together often during the summer. It is truly a joy that I hope to be able to experience when I am in my 80′s.

If I don’t take care of myself now though, I certainly won’t have the health and fitness to be able to go for fun trips with my grand kids when they are in their 20′s. I think we should start a challenge amongst the Christian Leadership network for weight loss. Let’s get the ball rolling.

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.

Why Be a Team Player

Josh Griffin —  October 29, 2012 — Leave a comment

Matt McGill (who has been on a blogging streak lately) posted some great reasons why your youth ministry should be aligned with the whole church and not just a siloed ministry. Here’s 1, 3 and 4 – head there for the rest and be sure to subscribe to his blog, too:

1. The youth ministry is not the church–it may be the best part of the church, but it’s still just a part.

3. Greater alignment usually means greater impact. Being a team player increases your alignment with the bigger picture.

4. Lead by example. You know how friendship works: if you want a friend, be a friend first. There will be days when you need help from the rest of the church. Be the first one to serve so that they are more eager to serve you. Obviously, this can be twisted into a game of politics, but you don’t have to go that far with it.

JG



The reaction to the post The 4 Responsibility of a Leader of Leaders generated some solid reaction – thus inspiring this sequel post of sorts based on additional thoughts and your comments. So how do you lead leaders? Here are a few more ways:

Challenge
Leaders of leaders need to be challenged. Give them a big piece of the ministry of they will find a place that will trust them with more. A great leader surrounds themselves with great leaders – and then gives them a chance to demonstrate it. If you are intimidated by good leadership around you, you’ll continually limit them to pacify your own insecurities. Set them free, challenge them even, and everyone wins.

Communicate
The leader must communicate. It should be first and last of their list of to do’s every day. Communicating involves what’s happening this week, but also talking through when things go wrong and you taking account for what happened and lead through how it’s not going to happen again. Communicating is also a big part of creating a compelling vision for everyone to follow.

Champion
No one cares about your youth ministry more than you. Speak out, share and affirm what your leaders are doing with the larger church.

Captain
The biggest thing a leader/pastor needs to do is be the captain. I’ve suffered in ministry when the leader refused to be in charge and when the leader let more charismatic people took the helm and drove the ministry into the rocks on the leaders’ watch. Being a captain also means you are the one creating vision and direction for the church. While others may man a wheel of the minsitry, having clear direction and course from the captain keeps the ship off sandbars and from straying off the path or going aimlessly in circles in the sea of uncertainty.

Create Culture/Context
Leaders must create and/or nurture sustainable cultures in which the Gospel can be manifest in that leaders’ context/environment. Copying another leaders style, say from the West Coast, might not work as well in the East. Hopefully, the four things you’ve listed will accomplish this goal, but I bet it’s worthwhile to remind the leaders to examine the culture and context in which they serve. The correct placement of your passion with the world’s needs is critical to ministry.

Model
Every leader of leaders should have chiseled abs and stunning features. I’m just messing, but seriously. I think on the flip-side or in complementing coaching we must lead by example. Our kids aren’t the only ones that watch what we do or the choices we make, in fact, sometimes the leaders we lead are more influenced by us than the kids are. They often take their leadership cues from us. I was talking with a missionary this past Sunday telling him about the various resources I was looking at for our youth ministry and staff and he said, “Well, whatever resources or curriculum you decide on, just remember that your life is the real curriculum teaching these kids and staff.” Wow.

Thanks to Matt Murphy, Rusty and Micah for these additional thoughts!

JG

This past Saturday I spoke my last message to the students in our youth ministry. At the end of the month, I’ll be leaving my current position as a youth associate to take my first official youth pastor position at a church plant.

As I reflect on my last 9 years of youth ministry, I started asking myself, “What were the most important lessons I have learned about youth ministry?” I’ve found that one of the most important lessons we can learn is learning how to earn influence with students so we can make a lasting impact in their lives.

So how do we do this?

You Earn Influencing by Caring – John Maxwell has taught us all, “People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.” That’s a fact. Students know whether or not we genuinely care through our words, eye contact, and the time we spend with them. Be intentional when it comes to caring for your students. Encourage them, pray for them, be there when they need you, and point them to Jesus every chance you get.

You Earn Influence Through Creating Memories - Every time I am with students, I ask the question, “What could we do right now that would create a memory that we will never forget?” The more memories you make, the more influence you’ll have!

You Earn Influence Through Leading by Example – It’s true that students will do what you do, not what you say. You can preach the greatest sermon ever, but if your life doesn’t back it up, you will not earn any influence with students. If you teach it, make sure you are living it.

You Earn Influence by Being Vulnerable – I’m extremely vulnerable with our students. I am myself around them, I share my weaknesses, and I share my hurts with them. I remember asking some of our core students this summer if my vulnerability made my influence with them more credible or less credible. Without hesitation, they all said, “more credible.” Be vulnerable. Be Real. Be You.

I have learned and I believe that if we’ll do these 4 things consistently with our students and continue our most important job, pointing them to Jesus, we will make a lasting impact in our student’s lives.

Bubba is the founder of OnlyGod.us! He lives for God, is in love with his wife, loves to workout using P90X and Insanity, runs marathons, blogs at BubbaSmith.net, works at a sweet church and has a passion for helping people live their lives on purpose and grow to their maximum potential.