stumboJohn Stumbo is one of the keynote speakers at the Simply Youth Ministry Conference coming up next month. If you haven’t signed up (I think) you can still get in before it sells out. Super excited to be a part of this event – see you there!

Three decades of serving the local church has been a fascinating ride. Three years of youth ministry drove me straight to the senior pastorate. Middle schoolers. Wow! There’s a real calling. I didn’t ve it. Preaching to people who actually stay in their chairs seemed more suitable. In all sincerity, what an honor to serve Christ by serving His bride. Amazing! I’m a big fan of the local church–crazed as she usually is.

What is one key thing youth leaders can do to help you as a senior pastor?
Stay out of trouble. Stay out of court. Stay out of my office unless I call for you. Uh, that’s what some youth pastor/lead pastor roles look like, right?

Love the students with the love of Christ, preach the Word with humility and passion, care for the broken . . . you know, pastor the flock entrusted to you. It would help if you would do so in a manner that I can defend if I need to. In other words, when you do something that might alarm the parents (or police department), maybe it would be a good idea to not let me get caught by surprise.

And what is the best way for a youth worker to build a relationship with a senior pastor you think?
Tough question. Us lead pastor types are often difficult to get to know. I’d say, “Don’t be discouraged if you’re not brought into the lead’s inner circle. He/she may not even have an inner circle. You can still have a great ministry partnership without being close friends.” I know this isn’t a satisfying answer for some, but strong ministry partnership and strong friendship are not necessarily the same.

One more thought: Get to know the pastor’s spouse. People see me and relate to me differently after they get to know my wife. Besides, she’s very likable. You can’t lose getting to know her!

What are you most nervous about as you plan to speak in the general session at the Simply Youth Ministry Conference 2013?
Nervous? Just because I haven’t even attended a youth conference in almost 30 years, follow Lecrae in the Saturday session and have what 3,000+ communicators staring at my graying head … why would you ask?

What are you most excited about as you plan to speak?
The way that this night came about … leaders trying to do more than just fill a slot with some big name, but wanting to have a sense that God was directing them . . . gives me a significant sense of anticipation. I’m trusting that God will breathe hope and encouragement into some souls that are fighting real battles of discouragement or wrestling with their own faith. I’m asking God for a night of hope, healing and joy in the midst of honesty and brokenness.

What¹s the craziest thing you can ever remember your youth leaders doing?
I’m pretty sure I never heard the craziest things they did. But I do remember finding out about the middle school pastor who used the 15 passenger church van to go “four-wheeling”. The van was never the same, but rumor has it that it was a fun ride. I was never convinced that using a toilet filled with Mountain Dew was the best place to do a fall festival bobbing for apples event. Duct tape seemed to be overused for one era of youth ministry.  And, whoever thought that combining a youth all-night lock-in with a baking fund raiser (sell cinnamon roll orders to the congregation, make them from scratch at the youth event and deliver them fresh at 7:00 in the morning) was a good idea, was nuts … oh, wait, I was that youth pastor.

The craziest of all: being willing to work for a senior pastor like me!

I’m super excited to go to the Simply Youth Ministry Conference in Indianapolis in just a couple months. I was in Colorado earlier this week helping plan the evening general sessions and think the lineup of content and fun is going to be something really special. Hope you’ll join us this year – get discounted rates through January 16th, too!

For all the details click here!


Chris Tomlin - BurningLights_FinalCover

Thanks to EMI I got an advance copy of Chris Tomlin’s new album Burning Lights that drops the first week of January. Absolutely loving it – great new tunes that are sure to end up in churches all across the world in the coming year. Great mix of classic Tomlin as well as some songs that push into new territory:

Favorite track
White Flag – this is the “anthemy” winner from the album. Tomlin’s first single from the album is already probably already familiar to you since it is getting gobs of airtime on Christian radio already. Great, great song about surrender to Christ and laying our life down to him. I also really enjoyed the very singable (if poorly named?) Shepherd Boy about trusting God whatever happens in your life.

Lots of Friends
The new album has a bunch of great guest artists, including Lecrae, Kari Jobe, Phil Wickham and Christy Nockels. They all work really well, especially the Kari Jobe duet for Crown Him With Many Crowns. Make no mistake these songs are his and he is the featured voice, but it is great to have an all-star cast along for the ride, too.

Overall thoughts
It is a great collection of worship songs and music that are sure to be sung for years to come. My wife immediately commented how much she loved it and wants it on repeat in our house, which is saying something since we have been enjoying nonstop Christmas music. Good, good stuff.