I must confess that I am in geek heaven right now. May 4th marks the launch of the Summer Movie Season. Now I, like you, are probably confused. I will not have my beach body or golden tan by May 4th. All of my waxing appointments are at the end of May (more of a Memorial Day celebration really). So how in the world can that be the LAUNCH? Well, when a movie like the Avengers opens, it demands that the summer is starting. After that comes Batman & Spiderman movies. That doesn’t even include other great popcorn flicks.

Never before have we seen, on such a large scale, this many superheroes on the same screen. And by early reports and reviews it was done masterfully well. Sure you have seen Batman, with Robin, Batgirl, and a mess of villains. The X-Men. Or even Spiderman in the third offering with Sandman, Green Goblin II (Hobgoblin, if you will), and Venom. What a sad waste. So there have been other large superhero ensembles, but what is different about this is not only how many heroes, but the concept behind the Avengers.

There are a group of superheroes that come to the realization that they are better together than they are alone. Sure, there will be the typical ego battle at the start of the movie for who is Alpha Dog, but eventually they all realize that they each have specific gifts, skills, and abilities that no one else can do, and if used with the other skill sets…well they are unstoppable. Sound familiar?

It’s not like I needed an excuse to compare my life to that of superheroes, but it is what I am doing every day I call myself a youth pastor, or work in the areas of ministry and leadership. I have the high honor of meeting people, helping them to discover who God has made them to be, and then assist in placing them in the perfect spot where they will be used and God will ultimately be most glorified. Who needs the Avengers when you get to do what I do?!? I read in 1 Cor. 12 where it says that God has given every one of us, who is dwelt with the Holy Spirit, spiritual gifts. Those gifts are not meant to be kept, but rather to be used for the building up of the whole body. And then from there, it goes on to say that the body is not made up of many of the same part, but one of each part. Who needs a bunch of Iron Mans? Only one. However, if you don’t have a Hulk, you are in big trouble. When I look at my team like this, they think I am weird, but it helps me staff my own team, exhort and encourage them, and stick to my own skills. It is a beautiful picture of God’s design when we have our team, doing what each of us do best, working side by side, proclaiming God’s love and pushing back darkness. Dang, I need a costume!

A couple questions I am currently asking myself to assemble the best version of a team:

  • 1. What am I good at and who has God made me to be?
  • 2. What has God called our team/ministry to do and be? If I don’t need a tech team (I do) then I should release them to do good works in other areas.
  • 3. What is it that God has gifted others to do and be…and then do I have a place for them? If so, staff for that, and then let them fly.
  • 4. Am I praying that God will lead me to know the needs of the group I am ministering to, and that He is sending the right people?

Look around and see who is among you. I am always shocked at the diversity that is among the people who call our church home.

Final encouragement. This takes time. I have been at my current job for 8 months and I am still missing pieces. Not because the people who are there are doing a poor job, rather we are all tasked out in other areas and I am still learning my team. The other issue is that I am working as fast as I can to assess and mobilize which often takes longer than you would think.

As the people come in and we assemble, the only thing I have left to get is a jet pack or maybe learn to do kick flips…all in due time I guess.

Jeff Bachman is the High School Pastor at Rock Harbor Church just up the road in Irvine, CA. Feel free to leave comments or email him at jbachman@rockharbor.org and of course subscribe to his blog The Until Matters.

For the most part, when I write something about youth ministry it is field-tested. I have done it…it worked. I have done it…don’t ever do it. I have done it…check out these scars. One of the ideas floating around in the old noggin that I have never done and I don’t know if it will work is … wait for it…seasons passes.

Allow me to explain: we live in a CostCo world. If I can’t buy 12 of something at a discounted rate then I don’t want any of them. I love the idea of warehouse stores so much that I bought my wedding ring at CostCo. (Longer story for another day) What if we were to sell season passes to our youth ministry with some of the same mentality? It would work something like this. We do 10-20 events throughout the year that cost different amounts.

    Winter Camp-$200
    Summer Camp-$500
    Connecting Event (Broomball)-$10
    Connecting Event (Road Rally)-$25
    Mission Trip-$100

…you get the point. If you were to plan your entire calendar for the year and figure out the cost for a family to send a student to everything you would come up with a grand total. Assuming the above 5 events were the only things my ministry was doing it would cost a student $835 to attend all of them.

What if you offered a 20% (or whatever you could afford as a ministry) discount on the cost of all of the events, and if a parent spends $668 they could go to all of the events for a 20% discounted rate?

The reasons I think I am on to something:

Who doesn’t love a discount? More for less is a good thing.
Forces you to plan (and stick to) your events for the year. I am 6 months into a new job at a new ministry. This will probably not happen for a year or two until I am sure of what works and what doesn’t.

There is a group of students who are bought into an event before you even start to plan for it. Once you have paid for something there is a willingness to go to it. You don’t want to waste the season pass. So you can assume most of the students who bought the pass will be at any given event. If not then you can be disappointed about their absences with a little extra money in your pocket.

You have some seed money for start of the year costs. All of our deposits are due at the same time and I put our accounting offices into a panic every September. If your budget was front-loaded by some extra incoming cash, they might not break into a cold sweat every time they saw you coming.

You can allow payment plans. Take the cost of your season pass and divide it by 12 or a little less after a deposit and then families can budget it on a monthly basis.

This one is a slippery slope…You could give some discounts or other privileges with the pass. Discounts on shirts, books, or other things you sell. Maybe front of the bus (or back) seating. Like I said, this one could get a little dangerous but just a thought. As mentioned, this is in the beta phase of genius, so I would love your thoughts or why you don’t think it would work. Maybe you have already tried it and you have some evidence one way or the other. Would love to see a discussion in the comments!

Jeff Bachman is the High School Pastor at Rock Harbor Church just up the road in Irvine, CA. Feel free to leave comments or email him at jbachman@rockharbor.org and of course subscribe to his blog The Until Matters.