Monthly Archives: November 2008

Thanksgiving Sermon Illustration

In 1539, Miles Coverdale supervised the printing of the Great Bible.  So ornate and elegant, these copies were chained to all church pulpits in England.  The popularity grew around this Bible where many people would gather around the pulpits eager to hear more from God’s Word.  In fact, the Bible became so popular among the people; regulations were established to limit the discussion among the people.

You read this and think to yourself, “These are the people that started our country”.  They were those that left the oppression of the Church of England to sail to the New World.  There were people that clung to their Bible because it was their prize possession. 

Not today, the Bible is not the prize possession in this country.  Working in a church, many Bibles that are left on Sunday are not missed until the pastor asks the congregation to turn to a passage and they realize they left their Bible on the coat rack by the gym last week.  Some Bibles end up in a “Bible graveyard” to be used in the youth room to give to visitors who didn’t bring a Bible.

Where is the eagerness of our people to read God’s Word like we saw in the late 1500’s where laws were passed to limit the discussion of God’s Word?  It wasn’t like today’s restriction laws that are passed for reasons of tolerance and the risk of offending other religions.  If the Ten Commandments in a classroom had to be taken down because the kids were discussing it too much, it would be one thing.  Or if a Bible needed to be taken out of a library because people spent too much time reading it, I wouldn’t be as upset.

I don’t mean for this illustration to turn into what sounds like an email forward petition.  But are you upset this country is taking away our Scriptures from public places?  Are you ashamed that we don’t think of our Bibles as our prize possessions?  Will we ever get back to discussing God’s Word so much that the government will consider restricting us?

So this Thanksgiving Day, thank God for His Holy Word.  And here’s a thought:  READ IT AND DISCUSS IT TOO!

Church Attendance – Why Go to Church?

Better question:  Why not go to church.  Here’s my top ten list on why to go to church?

  1. Where else will you find this kind of encouragement in your walk with Christ?  On the subway, in the grocery check-out…if you do, you must live in Mayberry.
  2. When people ask you “How are you doing”, many times they really want to know!
  3. You have free effective counseling available…sounds alot better than $100 an hour with a therapist.
  4. While your kids are being cared for, you are being encouraged by the best-selling book of all-time.
  5. By the way, your kids are also being instructed on living Godly lives and to obey you!
  6. The pastoral staff is not just keynote speakers, they are your teammate in understanding God’s will for your life and how to guide your family in Christian living.
  7. Your gifts are tax deductible – sorry =)
  8. It is often a free concert and your friends are the performers!
  9. Seriously, what other institution would offer free meals during tough times, surgeries, or funerals….not gonna get that from UPS or FedEx.
  10. If you miss practice, it doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t go to the big game…but this is great practice for the main event.

Church Advertising

Saw this on another youth pastor’s site and had to show it…

Never Underestimate Your Youth Ministry

Who would have thought that students would be at all interested in Calvinism or predestination, or even what is inside the cover of a book called the “Holy Bible”?  You would think it would resemble the chances of a 1st graders interest in the nation’s bailout plan.  Well, last week’s Sunday school changed all that.  Little did I know that some public schools cover Calvin in their history curriculum.  Good for them, bad for trying to get through the rest of my lesson. 

There are times when it is a mistake to get through your entire lesson and give a simple answer to a “heavy” question.  This was one of those times.  So, I simply tossed my lesson aside and decided to draw the “TULIP” on the board.  We discussed predestination, free will, and loads of other topics.  You know, topics that your brain was squeezing like a thighmaster to try and remember your doctrines class in seminary.  But praise the Lord, I was able to remember some of those thoughts, and we had a great discussion.  One student even went home and looked up the discussion in his history book and texted me definitions by that afternoon.

Just like the song by Reliant K says to “Never Underestimate My Jesus”, maybe we as youth leaders should sing a different song and “Never Underestimate our Teenagers”!  I am guilty of it.  So here is a task list for you to try:

1.      Try out a Theological Sunday School topic – I have “Theology 101” scheduled for winter quarter…fingers crossed.

2.      Have your teens plan an upcoming event – some supervision may be required, but release the grip reigns as much as you can, at least so no white is showing in your knuckles

3.      Schedule youth services during the year – don’t go crazy like every month, but plan a couple with your teens leading the music, giving testimonies, being the ushers, and maybe even preaching! 

4.      Have each student sign up for a ministry – this could range from children’s ministry to Vacation Bible School leader.

5.      Allow a mature student to begin discipleship with a new believer – same gender rules apply here, but take a leap of faith here with some guidance and allow that “new car smell” of a new believer to affect a growing student

Ephesians 4:12 “for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ”

Youth Ministry Goals

Last night I celebrated two years at my present ministry.  What a blessing!  I praise the Lord for that!  I was given the opportunity to speak, and I conveyed the importance of having goals in ministry.  Otherwise, if you aim at nothing, you will hit it everytime.

Here are some ministry goals for myself that may help you set your goals for 2009:

  1. Continued Growth – It is important not to focus on physical numbers, but more on spiritual growth.  Easier said than done, I know.  One of the first questions people ask about your ministry is “How have your teens grown this year spiritually?”  Sike….The first question they ask is “How big is your youth group?”  Make sure you prioritize the growth in their relationship with the Lord, not the growth in relationship to size.
  2. Building Relationships – Looking at Christ’s example of his days of ministry.  He spent so much time building relationships with his disciples and with those that were in need.  The demon-possessed man, the lepers, and the blind man to name a few…Christ showed his compassion on those that needed help.  These teens and your youth leaders need help.  Take the time to encourage and ask how each person is doing, especially those that may not hear “how are you” in a course of a week.  And actually listen to the answer, instead of making sure you start at 7pm instead of 7:01:45.
  3. Equip – As God’s Word teaches in Ephesians 4:12, we must equip our youth leaders, students, and parents to be ministers & servants of God’s kingdom.  Don’t try to do everything yourself!  Find ways to use talents, gifts, and abilities to fill in for your inadequacies and supplant your talents, gifts, and abilities.  As my good friend says, it will be a good thing when you don’t show up and you are not missed.  Lay down your pride, and let your group be the showcase, not you.

What about you?  What are your ministry goals?