Monthly Archives: October 2011

I’ll Admit it…I left the Ohio State Game Early

Yep.  It’s true.  I was at that game.  And with a minute and half left in that epic game, I said to my dad, “Let’s go”.  While we were walking away, I heard the announcer say the Buckeyes were already close to midfield.  And by the time we walked past the dorms, I experienced my first earthquake…oh wait, no that was the stadium erupting a half a mile away.  The Buckeyes scored on a 40 yard bomb, and thus was the ending to one of the most exciting night games in the history of the ‘shoe.

I know…What was I thinking?  Well, let me tell you, and those that know me, it may surprise you.  You see, I’m a pretty big Ohio State fan.  I’ve gone to games since I was little, cheered with my dad during the big games (except when it got close, he usually had to go on the treadmill to burn off the excess nervous energy, not kidding), and ate chili with my family nearly every game day.  My dad was a professor at THE Ohio State University for a number of years, I grew up in Columbus, and have lived there for over 20 years.  When I bleed, there is probably a little bit of gray in the scarlet.

So no, it was not because of a lack of “fandom” on my part, and especially on my dad’s part.  There were some factors like how much I hate traffic with every fiber of my being.  But in the end, that wasn’t the main reason…here it goes, you ready?

It was because of the Lord’s Day.  At the risk of you thinking of me over-spiritualizing a decision that most of my buddies would call idiotic, ridiculous, and even irresponsible (some of you would have stolen my tickets from me if you knew I’d leave early).  But it’s true.  I was already losing my voice that I knew I would need in teaching 25 hyper, highly combustible junior church kids.  I knew that with 105,000 people leaving at once, me getting home at 3am would make me pretty tired.  I couldn’t risk being tired at a special event where I knew I would be sharing the gospel to those that didn’t know Jesus.

Do I keep kicking myself over the decision and get a sick feeling when I think of seeing that touchdown catch with 100,000 other fans around me?  Absolutely!  But when I think of those that made decisions at our event for eternity and the kids that were impacted from the Bible lesson…that feeling goes away.  You might think I’m crazy, but I believe I made the most spiritually mature decision I’ve made it quite some time.  And as the book I’m reading says, I’m NOT A FAN, I’m a follower.

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Top 10 Observations from the World Series…Don’t tell me you haven’t thought of these things.

Let’s take a little retreat away from ministry for a moment, and talk a little baseball.  Didn’t watch a single game this whole season, but man has this World Series been a good one between the Texas Rangers and the St. Louis Cardinals.  Here are some thoughts from the first 5 games:

  1. Some would argue this, but I think hitting a baseball that is either moving crazy or going crazy fast is the hardest thing to do in sports.
  2. And the 2nd hardest thing would be the catcher catching those crazy moving baseballs.
  3. Why do the camera men think we want to see random girls from the crowd every inning?  If you are going to show the crowd, show a little kid dancing crazy, the nervous old lady (like from last night), or the guy that shaved his head and painted himself red.
  4. Lance Berkman definitely wears eyeliner…next game, you look and tell me I’m lying.
  5. Speaking of health & beauty products, does Beltre dye his beard like that crazy man on the Giants last year?
  6. Sorry Cardinal fans, but I think it is cool that the guy with the least star-power, probably smallest contract too, has a chant for him and will probably win MVP….Nap-o-li, Nap-o-li.
  7. If I was a picture and had to face Pujols, I would intentionally walk him even if there was nobody on base, that dude is huge!
  8. If I was a coach I would make the signs more fun, like picking my nose, making noises from my armpits…stuff like that.  Too obvious?
  9. I always wonder who came up with the “must spit” rule.
  10. This is some good baseball, makes you miss the little league days.



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You mean…Visitors are supposed to come back? What?

Yes.  It is true.  Visitors should not stay visitors for very long.  You should know their name, get to know them, and invite them back…and sometimes, if you do it right, they will!

  1. Day of:  Leaders & students (student leaders especially) welcome the student.  Exchange names, link up with similar ages & gender, and encourage interaction.  Have the welcome team get their information for follow-up, as non-confronting or embarrassing as possible.
    • Have something to give them that day.  Whether it be a prize or candy or whatever…as Bob Barker would say “Don’t send them home empty-handed”.
  2. 1-2 Days Later:  Pastor or leader should send out a welcome email/facebook/letter.  Make this quick, don’t wait until the student forgot where they were on Sunday or Wednesday night.  Also, send out the welcome packet as soon as possible.
    • Welcome email/letter – includes a nice note, parent packet, ministry information, and contact information
    • Welcome packet – includes visitor packet, cover letter, and some sort of prize/gadget/pet…be creative, don’t make me tell you everything.
  3. 3-5 Days Later:  Follow-up phone call

Your goal:  Get rid of the “visitor tag” by the first night.  Make them feel welcome, give them a desire to come back, and find ways to encourage them to come back.

How do you do it?  I’d love to hear ways you have been successful at getting rid of the “visitor tag”.

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5 Tips for Developing a Student Leadership Team

First, you get a whole bunch of kindling, then start a big fire, make some students take off their shoes, and tell each of them they need to be a leader..

Okay, maybe it worked for Moses, but you don’t need a burning bush incident to get your students to be a leader.  Here are 5 tips for starting a Student Leadership Team:

  1. Announce or Don’t Announce – The small dilemma of announcing or not announcing leadership training being offered, I feel is a tough one.  Some youth pastors will simply hand pick those they feel are ready for leadership training or discipleship.  While others may want to announce it and see what follows.  Either way, this is the start of the process – getting the word out.
  2. Age Limit – While leadership training happens throughout the process of youth ministry, it is smart to limit the formal training to upper classmen.  This, hopefully, will eliminate the maturity issue and also allows the younger students to have something to look forward to in the future.
  3. Keep the Bar High –Don’t settle for uncommitted, only doing this so it looks good on their college application, parents made me be here, couldn’t care less…students!  Make the requirements high and KEEP them there.  Attendance at meetings and regular youth group times, doing the homework, and even behavior/spiritual development requirements are a must.
  4. Make ‘Em Earn It -Why not make them earn their way.  Make them interview for the position on the leadership time.  You may even want them to get recommendations filled out by other adults/parents/teachers.  Those that really want to be on the team will do these things and will be more likely to be committed to your team down the road.  This is another way to weed out the garden, so to speak.
  5. Blueprints – Don’t be afraid to plan ahead.  Find the curriculum, book you want to assign, compile notebooks…and the list goes on.  Work ahead so it resembles an actual training course.  This will get easier the more you have the leadership training meetings

More ideas…bring it on!  Would love to hear what works for your student leaders.


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