1 Win is Worth 100 Losses

5366637592_0a193a8fcf_bWin is Worth 100 Losses…Spoken like a true Bills fan.  But there are times in ministry where people fall, deny the truth, or just decide to quit…but I have to remember the victories.  That’s what we have to do, find the victories even among the failures – The spilled milk isn’t what matters…it’s your reaction to it.  The job loss that results in a new dependence on God.  The high school decision that your future self will thank you.

But there is a victory that is greater than all of these, and Jesus does a much better job of bringing the point home in Luke 15:8-10 – READ

Little Background here…

  • Those 10 coins would come as a headband. This was equivalent to a wedding ring of today.  So ladies – you could see why this woman was so desperate to find the coin. 
  • 10 Coins – likely represented all she had – 1/10 of her savings was lost!
  • Another thing – Palestinian homes didn’t typically have LED lighting – in fact, most were quite dark with wooden floorboards where the coin could have easily been lost.

Why would I share this background information?  Well it gives us better understanding of this parable, and the themes within the story.  The overall theme of this parable, and the one before and after it…is the love of the Father searching and finding the Lost.  Here’s what we learn from this passage…

In the Dark…Just as the woman searched in a dark home for the lost coin.  God is searching through a dark world for those that are lost.  They are searching for hope in darkness.  God is the light they need in the dark world.

What was missing?  Part of the BRIDE was missing.  Jesus calls the church His what? (Bride)  This may be a stretch of an application, but we learn two things here:

  1. Christ wants to search for those who could be called His bride
  2. The church should be looking – If this woman told you she lost her coin – would you say “tough luck”? Would you be too busy to help (as we talked about last week)?  Would you be so unloving not to care?

Today, it’s not a coin.  IT’S PEOPLE!  People that can discover what it means to be loved by their Heavenly Father.  You can help them be found by the FATHER!

One Coin?  Not only was it just one coin, but some commentaries say the coin was just worth a day’s wages.  Plus this lady had 9 other coins.  Why search?  Compared to God, we are just little specks on this planet.  We may have several hundred Facebook friends…but there are 7.4 billion people on this planet.  We are just one of many…why would God search for us?  Shows God cares – Psalm 103:8-14 – This is the God we see in Luke 15.  A compassionate, loving, and merciful God – who SEARCHES for lost sinners!

God is not a passive God.  Look at the woman He is compared to…look at all she does to search for the coin.  She gets a light, she sweeps the place, and she diligently searches high and low…she is not going to give up…and neither does God.  2 Peter 3:9 tells us that God is not willing that any should perish…He wants all that are lost to be found.

The reaction – Do you have the reaction of this woman?  Well, do you?  You have found new life!  You have found forgiveness, hope, & peace – will you go to your friends and neighbors and share it and say…Look what I FOUND!  We search harder for the remote control that we do for lost souls…SHAME ON US!

Look at the joy over “1 sinner who repents”I enjoy watching football.  Well, the NFL season hasn’t started yet, so I can still say that.  But if your team is bad, the NFL draft provides you with fleeting hope…that the guy you get on your team will be the answer.  They MUST have a special talent, and your team is saying – we want them to be part of our team.  On TV – after the team picks the player, they show the guys in upper management…guys in suits giving each other high fives, fist pumping, and cheering…for a game…a game!

Imagine those truly in “upper management”…the angels of God…imagine their excitement over someone joining their team…FOREVER SAVED!  It might go something like this…

RonDiCianni-HeavensBalcony“Hey Gabriel, get over here…look…it’s happening over here in China…a little girl, that’s it and AMEN….YES, she just got saved!  Michael look down there in South Africa…a couple just trusted in our Savior…Wahoo!  Oh…look over there in Columbus, Ohio…a neighbor praying with one of ours…How we celebrating tonight…shooting stars…lightning storm…100,000 angel choir…PARTY FOR THOSE SAVED FOR ETERNITY…YES!!!

Do we have this reaction?

Here is the Model of Evangelism.  Desperate search for the lost and bring them to their proper place – in God’s family – in the safety of the Father’s armsDo we search with desperation?  Do we search?  Do we care?  Do we believe others are worth saving?  The woman didn’t say – “Oh well, lost a coin…I got 9 more…I’m safe.”  We can’t live our lives this way…instead…living each day hoping, praying, and witnessing towards ONE MORE.

My wife is an incredible party planner – especially birthday parties for our kids.  The things she creates, bakes & makes for those parties…amazing.  All that hard work – Why does she do that?  Because she loves our kids and wants them to have joy on their birthday.  Bringing people to Jesus is hard work.  It takes prayer, boldness…sometimes years of conversations, sacrifices, and loving others…BUT in the end it is worth it…to see the joy on someone’s birthday…their spiritual birthday.

Let’s be the best party planners – the party that happens in heaven each time someone trusts Jesus Christ as their Savior.

Tagged , , , , , ,

This Generation Needs the Truth

The longer I am in youth ministry, the more I realize how much this generation needs to be reminded of the truth of the Gospel.Picture3The Gospel…

A Gospel that tells them they are loved.  Not just a little bit of love – but love that would send an innocent man to His death…for them!  That they are worth dying for!  A love that does not change – nothing they can do can lose any of God’s love and earn any more…it is perfect!

A Gospel that tells them they have hope.  Even with the bullying, with the feelings of loneliness, the difficulties in their academics…there is hope.  Philippians 3:20 says our citizenship is in heaven…we are just visiting this world that is full of sin & destruction…there is so much hope that awaits you.

A Gospel that tells them they have a purpose.  Their purpose is to spread this GREAT NEWS.  They have a voice, they have something to share, they have the key to LIFE…which leads us to our passage.  Read I Timothy 6:19-21.

Remember these two verbs from this passage:  Pursue & Avoid

Pursue:  Check out the end of verse 19 – “TRULY LIFE”

First, little background/context here – this is a the end of a message Paul was giving to the rich – not to care so much about earthly treasures…but to care about the eternal.  Live for what truly matters – “take hold of that which is truly life” – How?  Pursue the eternal.  There is so much out there for this generation to hold onto…just hoping it will bring them LIFE.

They are out there searching – hoping life has so much more.  Thinking…this can’t be all there is…emptiness just filling their souls.  Like they are hanging on the edge of a cliff and reaching for something…anything to save them.  But they keep grabbing for things that don’t hold up, sending them further down the cliff.

Pursue LIFE.  Eternal life.  Let me ask you this:  Do we give this example to this coming generation?  When we show them – the Christian life – it’s where it’s at!  This is THE life!  According to Pew Research – Rise of the Nones (those with NO religious affiliation) that is growing in this country – Most given reason for breaking off w/ religion they were raised in because…they become disenchanted.  They were disappointed in Christianity!  Why?  Could it be we aren’t living like this is the ONLY way?  We live like there are other options.  Is it worth it to us?  Worth dying for?  Is it THE LIFE?  OR Do we live boring, risk-free, non-committal Christian lives?  Is it any wonder this generation is saying no thanks?

The Christian life is HARD, takes sacrifice, will produce persecution…it better be WORTH IT!  Does our life, our passions, our speech, our actions…do they prove to our children that the Christian life is worth it?

This is how we pursue – 5 steps

  1. We talk about God in our home – According to the College Transition Project – 1in 8 teens talk to their moms and 1 in 20 to their dads about faith in their lives.
  2. Serve Together – Let’s drop off cookies at the neighbors together, come paint VBS sets together, and visit the elderly together…and then get ice cream after. Ok?
  3. Church is a priority – Not in a legalistic way…but in a “We love the Bride of Christ” kind of way…and we WANT to be there to learn, serve, and worship.
  4. Share your faith – Not just daddy or mommy…but all of us share. In our schools, our jobs, our ball teams, our band concerts our neighborhoods…LIFE of faith.
  5. Love Others – Jesus said “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love others, love the lost…and prove it by your actions.

Avoid

End of verse 20 reminds me of:

  1. The philosophy professor at the secular college that wishes to disprove religion
  2. The rants of the atheists in our media aimed to humiliate anyone that believes in a higher power
  3. The theory that many call “science” claims the world was formed by a big bang & the existence of the universe was result of millions of years of chance

The world will call this knowledge – it is false – and our children need to hear the truth from us.  Avoid pointless arguments that get you nowhere…instead live by faith, share about what faith has done in your life, and love others – these are hard to argue.  We fight on FB – when we should offer a conversation at a coffee shopWe badmouth a child’s friend – when we should invite their parents out to breakfastWe get worked up in politics when we should be on our knees in prayer

What we want for our kids – verse 20…so we can do all we can to avoid verse 21.  The minute we water down the Gospel at our church or in our home – is the moment we fail.  We fail our Savior, we fail our responsibility, & we fail our children.  We guard the Gospel and avoid false teaching in our homes – with the hope of them staying firm in their faith.  Is this full-proof, money back guaranteed?  Not in this fallen world…but…  The more you talk about God in your home, protect the truth, and live it out…the greater the chance this coming generation will follow and stay firm in their faith.Picture2

Listen to the entire sermon here (9/4/2016)

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Selfishness Has Many Faces

Let me just give you a few examples of selfishness that you are pretty familiar with:

  • Burger Kings says “Have it ________ way” (YOUR)
  • Sprite says “Obey __________ thirst” (YOUR)
  • L’Oreal Hair Products say “Because ________ worth it” (YOU’RE)
  • Bon Jovi’s song called “It’s ____ life”(MY) & The Beatles sang song called “I, Me, Mine”

We have been conditioned by our culture to think of ourselves as most important.  It’s encouraged to be selfish…to look out for NUMBER 1.  Jesus says and did differently…You know what I have discovered… My selfishness is everywhere!  It’s like the dishes after dinner…you think you got all the big pots and pans…the plates…but then you find a sippy cup under the table.  “Aw man, How did I miss that!?!”

Just as I think I have my selfishness under control, I find it in another part of my life.

  • It’s when I want the traffic to go my way and all the lights to be green for ME.
  • It’s the quiet I think I deserve when come home from work – w/ 4 kids under the age of 8, it’s not just selfish, but impossible.
  • It’s when I get a fresh bottle of root beer…and several little voices ask for a sip.

You see how many faces selfishness can have?  It is FRIGHTENING!

Read Philippians 2:3-4

The Do’s & Don’ts – This essentially is a list of Do’s & Don’ts – ever since we were kids, we don’t like do’s and don’ts…and our flesh wants to continue to fight them…but if you play this out, you can see how a your life could be derailed by not following this list.

First the Do’s –  Have same mind/same love, Have humility, Look to the needs of others.  The Don’ts – Have Selfishness, Have Pride, Look to your own needs.  Why are these important?  Well, let’s look at what happens if you follow the don’t list…

  • Selfish – not have love for others
  • Pride – credit will not be given to the Savior
  • Look after you own interests – Please only yourself

Conversely, if you follow the do list…Love/Mind of Christ – accomplish the work of Christ…Humility – not get in the way of God working…Look at interests of others – reach needs & reach hearts of others

You can’t have the same mind & love of Christ if you have selfishness. It’s just not possible.  Isn’t that interesting – when we do what we want…we don’t think it will affect others.  But, in the end, nothing could be worse for our relationship with others than selfishness.

Humility is the complete opposite of selfishness.  Paul is saying – this must describe you.  And it might describe us!  As a follower of Christ – we are to be a servant, a humble follower of Jesus.  What an attitude.  An attitude I hope each of us can adopt – To where nothing is done in selfishness or pride.  Where we say “God did that”, not “I did that”.  Where we say “These people need Jesus” not “these people need my help”.  Where we say “How can I serve others” not “I’d rather just be comfortable” Picture1

So, two questions to ask ourselves:

  1. Why do you do the things you do?
  • Please yourself – Make yourself feel good? Avoid hardship as much as possible? Eat, Drink, & Be Merry philosophy?
  • Please others – To make people proud of you. To be able to brag to people what you do for a living…or how you help other people. So people see you as a good person.
  • Please God – Are you on this planet to bring others TO Him. What you do is not for your own comfort, to promote your business or your name…do ALL for the glory of God.
  1. Can I think of others higher than myself?
  • Means giving your attention to someone even when your eyes can barely stay open
  • Means listening to the Holy Spirit – leading you to help others
  • Means going outside your comfort zone for the betterment of someone else

In Philippians 2:6-11, we see the mind of Christ played out in one of the most beautiful pieces of literature ever written.  When you think of Jesus’ death – can’t help but think who he died for…the murderers, the rapists, and those on death row.  And he died for you, and for me.  Talk about humility, the King of Kings…nailed to a cross to die for all those that spit in His face.

Jesus showed his humility.  He showed it.  Because a man who just says he is humble and does not show it – is just the opposite.  And once you say you are humble, it is very likely you just lost your humility.  Look at the example of Christ…his humility, his love, and his willingness to put others first.  Selfishness has many faces…that’s why we need to not look in the mirror, but look to Christ.

Listen to the entire sermon here (9/4/2016)

Tagged , , , , , ,

Don’t Be Too Busy to Get to Tomorrow

sorry_were_too_busy_graphic1Paul David Tripp says the biggest challenge facing the church today – busyness.  We are soooo busy!  You would think it wouldn’t be so busy w/ technology that allows us to:  Mow our lawns & sweep our living room rugs with remote controls, research a topic on our phone in 2 seconds what it used to take a trip to the Encyclopedia section at the library to figure out, and microwavable everything” – bacon, eggs, mac n cheese, pizza…even salmon says the internet.

44% of Americans call themselves “workaholics”.  We spend 4.7 hours a day on our cell phones.   The average young American will spend 10,000 hours playing video games before the age of 21.  Maybe it’s not we’re too busy…but we’re too busy with the wrong things.  Read Matthew 6:19-21 as a refresher of what we should be doing. are-we-too-busy-448x203

We worry so much about the temporary – How our lawns need more rain, the weird noise coming from our car, or the upcoming election.  Sure, those are legitimate concerns–but how much of our focus & efforts are on the eternal.  Is our concern about the waitress at lunch today – “Why is she not bringing the rolls?” or is it “I wonder if she knows the Lord?”.  Is it how fast I can leave church on Sunday OR who can I ask how they are doing/who can I pray with that needs encouragement?

“It’s Only Temporary” – It’s a phrase we use when we: talk about a job we don’t like or a cast that we have to wear…it doesn’t phrase us when we believe it is only an issue for a short period of time.  Here’s one for ya – LIFE is a short period of time – why don’t’ we feel this way about our difficulties, our trials here on earth and say “It’s only temporary”.  Why do we worry so much about the temporary tomorrow when we can affect someone’s eternity TODAY!

Where your heart is – will be what determines what you do next.  If your heart is on earthly things – money, success, sex, pleasure…you will pay a great price.  But if you choose to give your heart to God…that which you LOSE will be much greater than EVERYTHING you could ever gain with these things…I promise you that!

Go back to Matthew 6:33-34.  2nd reason we are too busy – we worry so much about tomorrow.  How does this happen?  Why do we worry so much about tomorrow?  Why do we put so much time, energy, and so much worry in things that in the end – are only temporary?

Randy Alcorn defines worry as – “momentary atheism crying out for correction by trust in a good and sovereign God.”  When we worry about tomorrow – the symptoms and prescriptions are found in these two verses.  The symptoms of worry:  Memory Loss, Anxiousness, and Disorientation.  (Sounds like those commercials on TV:  This pill may cause blindness, dizziness, and you may see penguins in the road while driving)

Memory Loss – Worry is a result of forgetting what God has done before.  We worry God won’t provide, or help us, or that He doesn’t know what He is doing.  But when has He failed you in the past, when has He forgot to have a plan, when has He lost control.  Prescription:  Seek God first in your busyness.  Let him be the first place you go, not the last resort, the last priority, or the “if I have time”.

Anxiousness – Our mind gets filled with the “what if’s”.  Sure, it’s good to be prepared, but when we are consumed and anxious about what might happen tomorrow…is when worry can paralyze us.  Prescription:  Put God in the driver’s seat of your life.  Only God can control the future, let it go.  Give God your life and let Him lead.

Disoriented – As we discussed before, we get in trouble when we don’t look up.  We start trying to control things ourselves and try to be in control – we can easily get lost. Prescription:  The saying goes “the average person is crucifying himself b/t two thieves:  the regrets of yesterday and the worries of tomorrow”.  Ask God to do something with you TODAY.  Tomorrow will worry about itself.

Stop worrying about what will happen tomorrow and DO SOMETHING today.  This means you will have to get rid of your selfishness.  This means you will have to love others that may seem unlovable.  This means you will give more of your time and have less of “me time”.  This means you will have to listen to the leading of the Holy Spirit.

Ask yourself these questions this week:

  1. What can I do for my neighbor?
  2. What can I stop doing today? Maybe you need to delete an app or game on my phone.  Maybe I need to stop watching a TV show.  Maybe I need to use this time to Facebook a friend, bake cookies for my neighbor, or prep to teach a children’s ministry class.
  3. What is missing in your relationship with God? Am I too busy to spend time in God’s Word and prayer?  Do I have room in my schedule to serve God, love others, & volunteer in a ministry?

Never Be Too Busy to Get to Tomorrow…there is so much that needs to be done TODAY…

Back in the ‘70s, Princeton social psychologists asked seminary students to participate in their study on “religious education.”  1st part of the experiment – answer a whole bunch of demographic questions2nd part of experiment – walk across campus to another building to give a sermon on “The Good Samaritan”½ of the participants were told they were behind schedule and needed to get to the classroom as quickly as possible to give their sermon – their audience was waiting.  Other ½ of participants weren’t told they were behind.  Here’s where it gets interesting – On their way to the other side of campus – each student would walk by a man struggling in the alleyway.  He was moaning and coughing as the students walked by.  Ironically – the seminary students who were about to preach on the Good Samaritan, were passing a real test of their sermon material.  Results – 63% of participants who were not in a hurry – stopped to help the man;  BUT, only 10 percent of the participants who were in a hurry stopped to help the man—even though they were walking with their notes saying how important it is to help people in need!

I’m ashamed to say, I can relate to these seminary guys…

On the way to the church, several days in a row I drove by a couple who were in a car in front of the Subway.  As I drove by once more, the man waved at me, probably to get me to stop staring at them.  My heart was gripped and I turned around.  Turns out he recently lost his job, and he and his wife were homeless.  I was able to get them something to eat, and help them make some calls to help them find a home.  I could not help but thank the Lord for teaching me this humbling lesson.

How will you let God use you today?

toobusy

  1. Step one –  is to not be in such a hurry….stop letting “Busy” be your answer to when someone asks you “How are you doing?”
  2. Step two – if you feel God leading you to do something, and you can do it, and then do it.
  3. Step three –  stop worrying about the temporary.
  4. Step four – praise the Lord for having the opportunity to share His love.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO LISTEN TO THE SERMON…YOU CAN FIND IT HERE.

Tagged , , , , , , ,

How Christian Music is Made

Hilarious parody of the “behind the scenes” of Christian music.

Book Review: The Goodness of God

Book Review:  The Goodness of God by Randy Alcorn

The Good:51v3wMK6YnL

The Honest Truth.  Some books are careful about what people might think or those that might disagree.  Not this one.  This book raises its right hand and tells the truth, nothing but the truth, and gets a whole bunch of help from God.  That’s probably what I like most about this book is its honesty.  This was a difficult task to provide people with “assurance in the midst of suffering”.  But this book shoots down argument after argument with the truth of God’s Word, basic reasoning, and turns the tables with fantastic questions.  Which brings us to my next point…

Awesome Apologetics.  Man, if you are on the lookout for a dynamite apologetics book.  Light the match and be ready for this to blow you away.  Countless times I stopped after a rebuttal to common arguments of atheists and anti-sufferer-ers…and I was like “that is so good!”.  Responses that are practical and in the category of “Why didn’t I ever think of that?”, but yet powerful and so effective.

Priceless Definitions.  All throughout the book, Alcorn provides these quick definitions for words that are a regular part of our vocabulary.  Easily one of my favorite parts of the book when I would stumble upon another Alcorn-ism, so to speak.  For example, on page 110, we find a definition of worry as “momentary atheism crying out for correction by trust in a good and sovereign God”.  Signed, seal, and deliver that one to the bank!  And there’s more, but I don’t want to spoil them all for you.

The Bad:

Some Repetition.  There is some repetition of thoughts in the same chapter that could be avoided, but even that is ticky-tack.  Really not much wrong with this book, and I can see why I was given this book and told “It is excellent”…because it is.

The Grade:  A+.  When have you picked up a book, and upon finished the final page, your perspective on life is changed.  Now that’s a powerful book.  Randy Alcorn uses God’s Word effectively in reorienting your mind and heart towards a proper perspective on suffering.  He’s not afraid of feelings and what is fair, he simply brings the truth of God’s Word on the subject of suffering, and let’s you have it.  And argument after argument from the other side of God’s Word is shot down with overwhelming consistency and extensively.  Send this book to your hurting friend, sick neighbor, or grieving family member.  It’s worth the price on Amazon, the stamp, and it’s weight in gold.

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Reflections of an Intern

62f49b237c2fe6861446e264bc4293bb[GUEST POST BY:  DEVIN GOODWIN, INTERN EXTRAORDINAIRE]

No Task is too Small

I’ve been given many tasks while being an intern. This ranges from sweeping the floor to filling water for the fridge. But none of it is meaningless. This continuously points to the servant leadership that Christ desires for all.

Cling to Mentors

Listen to everything that your mentors tell you. These are the Godly people who you desire to be in the future. Ask them questions. See how they interact with problems. See how they follow after Christ. This is all God’s way of pointing you to Himself and showing you how you can serve Him in vocational ministry in the future.

Invest in People

Just because you are only in that position for a short amount of time doesn’t mean that you can slack off with the relationship side of ministry. Find people who you can disciple and point to Jesus. They need to see how personal He is and a lot of the ways that He is personal is through His body. The Spirit points us to the people that we are meant to be with and we are able to use what we are learning in Scripture to point others to a greater knowledge and love for Him.

Don’t Focus so much on your Work that you Neglect Christ

sidebar-1 Just because you are doing the work of the ministry doesn’t mean that you can stop investing in your own relationship with Christ. Make sure you are spending time in the Word and having deep times of prayer. Find things that stir your affections for Him. This can be by getting into nature, reading a good book, spending time with others, drinking a good cup of coffee, watching a good movie, or anything else that really gets you excited to serve Christ.

Don’t put yourself on a Pedestal

While being in a ministry position as an intern it is easy to think that you need to have it all together. This is insane! Thanks to sin, we will never have it all together. But this gives us the ability to follow after a relationship with Christ with other flawed people. So if you are hurting, let them know because then they can start to point you to Christ even better than before.

Tagged , , , , ,

Why is the church losing 5th graders?

Here is a clip highlighting the problem invading the church that begins even before teenage-dom.  Have a listen and allow it to motivate you to reach this generation for Christ.

Tagged , , , ,

Two Secrets That Will Help Build Your Summer Ministry

Has this ever happened to you in the summer?  You plan a canoe trip and three teens show up?  Or you put together a whiffle ball home run derby, one guy shows up, and is automatically declared the winner?  These are true stories from my ministry.  Summer events can be frustrating.  Whether it is the different schedule of summer, vacations, or sports camps…it proves to be difficult to host a successful summer event.  So, over the years, as I have evaluated the summer ministries, I have found two effective ways to do summer ministry.

#1 – Scale Down

imagesTake a breather.  Listen, with week-long mission trips, camps, mission projects, Vacation Bible School…your attendance at weekly meetings will begin to dip.  The philosophy of scaling down in summer youth ministry is highly debated.  You will find the “summer is the best time to do ministry” crowd.  And if that works for you, Praise God.  But, in my experience, keeping the normal ministry schedule has resulted in low attendance, picking and choosing of ministry involvement, and tired leaders.

Instead, we put our energy and passion into the other events of the summer.  We serve together for big children’s ministry events.  We build our efforts towards mission trips and projects.  Our leaders recoup and find refreshment.  And you know what happens when fall rolls around?  They are pumped and primed for ministry!  The summer builds up that opening night of the school year schedule.

#2 – Summer Hang Out

PosterThe summer schedule is unpredictable.  So, as Kevin Durant would say, “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em”.  Use informal time to build into the students.  Take a few guys out for ice cream, babysit for your wife to take some girls out for coffee, or invite some teens over for a ministry project during the week.  Use this time for some informal discipleship, catching up, and building unity over the summer.

We posted an announcement on Facebook to let the students know their leaders were available to hang out sometime this summer.  Some girls called my wife to have dinner.  I was able to have lunch with a few guys the last few weeks.  It’s nothing earth-shattering, but the conversations have been priceless.  What I want to happen at events (informal discipleship) is happening in this brief get-together.

What about you?  What works for you in the summer?  I’d love to hear your secrets to a successful summer.

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

My Intern Starts Today…What Do I Do?

Today is the day conceptional words on white board

Today is the day conceptional words on white board

The intern’s first day.  It’s been on your calendar for months now.  Almost blinking at you with red, neon lights.  What will I have him/her do for the whole summer?  How much is too much?  What if I tell them all I know in the first day and then having nothing else to share?

With anything, it is good to have a plan.  Internships should provide on-job training for a future occupation.  What type of training will you provide?  Internships aren’t like what you see on the movies where you just have them take in your dry cleaning, pick up donuts & coffee, and answer all your phone calls.  A church internship probably does not want to resemble the “Devil Wears Prada”.  It should be more like “The Youth Pastor Wears Old Nike’s”.

Here’s a basic plan for your youth intern:

  • Early Communication. Stay in touch with the intern from the time you offer the position to the time it starts.  Begin to attach them in youth leader email updates.  See how they are doing.  Pray together.  Let them know the “dress code” of the office.  Fill them in on details they are wondering like weekly pay, lunches, and office hours.
  • 1st Day – “Orientation”. Provide the intern with a basic schedule.  Review the tasks that will be required.  Take time for questions and concerns.  Give a tour of the building.  Show them how to use the copier, fill out reimbursement slips, and how to not set off the alarm in the morning.
  • Schedule. Use Google calendar, or something similar, and allow this to be a collaborative effort.  Invite secretaries, other staff, and the intern to join the online calendar.  Put on the calendar major church events, service times, days off, and meeting times.  This provides a great structure for the internship experience and expectations from the beginning of what the schedule will look like.
  • Task List. Separate this into 3 categories.  Daily tasks, Weekly Tasks, & Visionary Tasks.
    • Daily Tasks – one-on-one meetings, , journal & reading. In the beginning, have them journal every 30 minutes of their work day.  Then broaden it to an everyday journal.  Provide 5-10 books that will promote growth in their ministry growth.  Examples include “The Seven Checkpoints” (Stanley), “The Greenhouse Project” (Walker/Calhoun), “Your First Two Years in Youth Ministry” (Fields).
    • Weekly Tasks – staff meetings, discussion questions, lesson preparation and execution, hospital/visitation, student discipleship
    • Visionary Tasks – Big event planning, camp/mission trip participation, parent meeting preparation, youth leader preparation, children’s ministry administration
  • Must-Haves.
    • Include a big event planning somewhere in the process – promotion, execution, even hosting, and clean-up. Experience with planning a larger event with you guiding the process will be a tremendous help.
    • Exposure to wide range of age groups. While youth ministry is often focused on teens, many churches require youth pastors to have experience teaching different age groups.  This means teaching children and even preaching to adults may be good to add to your task list.
    • Journaling – this is a good exercise for the intern to reflect on their experience each day. The journal will reiterate lessons that will save them from heartache later in their ministry down the road.
    • Teaching Opportunities. Take time to say “this is why we do this”.  Ask questions that begin with “why do you think I would” or “what would you do if…”.  Keep the training ongoing even in conversation.hellomynameisintern

This is a good start for your internship experience.  If you implement this model for your intern, it should provide them with great training and experience for their next phase in ministry.  Hoping this will allow them to walk away more excited about how God can use them in mighty ways serving Him.

Tagged , , , , , ,