Monthly Archives: February 2013

5 Questions to Ask After a Break-Up

When counseling a teenager about a break-up, there are some key questions to ask.  Before getting to those, there is one thing to remember.  You may not think it is a big deal, but to them IT IS a big deal.  So treat it like the big deal it is, and try to remember when you were a teenager and how much it hurts when someone broke up or rejected you.  That should raise your empathy level to where it needs to be.

Here are the “5 Questions to Ask a Teenager After a Breakup”:

  1. How are you doing?  May seem like a simple question, but if it is meant and felt, it should break the ice when they know you care.
  2. What hurts the most?  This will help get a little deeper and help you know what to counsel.breaking-up
  3. What emotion do you experience the most?  Anger?  Depression?  Pain?  Each of these emotions have spiritual answers or spiritual passages that can help.  Narrowing down your search will help you know where to steer them in God’s Word.
  4. How has your relationship with God been in the last 7 days?  (How has God fit in your healing process?)  Don’t let this be an excuse to find rebellion, let it be an excuse to bring them closer to God.
  5. What can you learn from this?  It is pointless for this young person to go through hardship if you can’t learn from it.  Whether it is an attitude change, response to difficulty, spiritual growth…let this be something God can use to change you for the better…because you either get BITTER OR BETTER!
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Book Review: Disciplines of a Godly Young Man

Disciplines of a Godly Young Man – By Hughes & Hughes

The Good

If the purpose of the book is to lead a young person through the disciplines of the Christian life, and use this book for the purpose of discipleship…then this book hit the ball out of the park.  There is another version for adult discipleship (found heredailydisciplines), but for mentoring or discipleship of young men, this ranks at the top of my list.

Not only does it provide a great tool in discipleship, it also is challenging for the reader as well.  It provided Biblical and practical methods for achieving the disciplines of the Christian life.  It leaves very few stones unturned and is not afraid to challenge the reader to reach for greater heights in their spiritual walk.

If you are a teacher, preacher, parent, or mentor…this book is loaded with illustrations that drive the importance of daily disciplines.  I was constantly underlining the stories and illustrations.  If anything, that is worth the price of admission.

The Bad

There were some demonstrative and wide-sweeping statements that were made a few times.  Although, for the most part I agreed, it was a little dangerous.  For example, words like “never” and “no way” come often and with great weight.  I would take note of this in discipleship, and talk over these absolute statements together.  You may find they need to be stated this strongly to drive home the importance.

The Grade:  A.

You heard me.  I give it the highest grade besides perfection.  For discipleship, there are few better.  If you are a youth worker, parent, mentor, teacher, aunt, uncle, grandparent (do I need to keep going) of a young person, buy it and use it to disciple.  Many chapters can be used for young women as well.

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Encouragement for the Youth Pastor – Part 2

That parent just slammed the door after letting you know how horrible a job you are doing.  That student you thought would lead your praise band next year just got busted at a party.  That event you thought would attract hundreds ended up attracting less students than adult volunteers.

Any of these sound familiar?  Are you wondering if there is any hope out there for the youth pastor or youth worker?  Well, your encouragement can be found here.

2 John 1:4 tells us one place youth pastors can find joy is seeing children walk in the truth.  You see, youth or student ministry is unique.  Oftentimes, you do not see the results right away.  You may struggle with a student, pour your life, energy, heart, & soul into that student and they may walk off to a university only to make horrible decisions.  But, if you endure, if you persevere and stay true to God’s Word and continue fighting for the spiritual growth of these young people, the day will come where you can rejoice.  The tears from your prayers, the frustration of bad decisions, and the heartache over rebellion…that will fade away when that one student comes to you later in life and says “Thank you for believing in me, for caring about me when no one else did, or pushing me to Jesus.   I’m now a youth leader in my church (or I now serve in an inner-city mission or I teach 5th grade Sunday school).  But even better, you helped me realize I need Jesus in my life.  I’m following Him now”.

Those hard times will still be there.  But take heart youth worker, because there will be a day when you find a student on Facebook, or you hear from their parents, or they show up outside your office door…and they are walking in the truth.  And what joy that will bring.

Encouragement for the Youth Pastor – Part 1

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Top 10 Requirements for a Youth Pastor Search

Hard to come up with just 10 things to include in finding a youth or student pastor candidate.  But here’s 10 that come to mind.

  1. Biblical standards is a good place to start – must follow without question the ground rules in I Timothy 3 & Titus 1. (I realize this covers a lot, but I can’t say it better than Scripture does!)
    1. Along these lines – same commitments to Biblical standards & doctrines
  2. Follows the philosophy of the church – Typically youth pastors fall into a few camps:  Program Driven, Family/Discipleship Driven
    1. There needs to be and understanding of the philosophy of the candidate.  This will help with finding a right match.
  3. For me, a high value in relational and Biblical discipleship is paramount in youth ministry.Job
    1. This means – willingness and desire/passion to disciple young people and also families/parents.
  4. Understanding of family ministry – involvement, passion for equipping, and desire to consistently communicate with parents.  Someone that sees parents as someone on their team, not one they try to just keep happy.
  5. Inter-generational – willingness to involve teens in service in the church, encourage engagement in adult relationships, and provide opportunities for teens to serve and worship alongside adults and kids.  Basically provided a bridge between generations.
  6. Relationship-oriented – this generation is less about knowledge, and more about relationship.  “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care” (Maxwell)
    1. Also able to work well with others on staff & develop/maintain a positive relationship with youth leaders/children workers.
  7. Organized – Can’t tell you how important this is.  Leadership loves it.  Parents love it.  And teens benefit from it.
  8.  Effective communicator – not only in formal settings like teaching/training/meetings.  But also have the ability to communicate clearly in informal settings like one-on-one with teens, weekly staff meetings, and secular arenas (like YMCA or bowling alley for example in planning events)
  9. Driven – there needs to be drive – both spiritually and practically.  Always looking for ways to improve the spiritual & physical environment of the youth ministry.
  10. CALLED to ministry – love for teens is a requirement, but a call to ministry is a step above that.
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Associate Pastors Are Pastors Too…And 10 Ways To Maximize Your Pastoral Role

Early in my youth ministry, a visitor introduced themselves to me and asked “Oh, are you the youth pastor?”.  I said “Yes, ma’am”.  “That’s great” the elderly woman said.  Then, the dagger.  “Are you going to become a REAL pastor someday?”

OUCH!  Now, she meant no harm by the statement, but the sentiment was there.   At youth conferences, we sometimes joke about this attitude of “well if the church has a senior pastor, so that must make the youth pastor a junior pastor.  Someday they will graduate to become a REAL pastor.”

But in my short ministry career, I’ve come to appreciate both the hard work and dedication of the senior pastor role, but the same holds true for all those associate pastors out there as well.  I’m also very thankful I’m in a church that appreciates them both.

So, if you are an associate pastor, you are an important piece to the Body of Christ, and your work for the gospel is needed!   Let these 10 things be an encouragement to you today to keep serving the Lord, that is until you become a real pastor =)

(taken from H. B. Charles Jr. Blog)call

Seek clarity about your calling. Not every associate preacher is called to be a senior pastor. It may be to serve alongside another pastor. This is a noble calling. You ministry is not unimportant because your name is not on the bulletin. Seek the Lord about the calling on your life. Is it missionary work? Should you be in the classroom, rather than the pulpit? Is there an area of specialization, like youth of Christian education, the Lord has purposed for you? Or are you called to the pulpit of a local church? Get clarity about your calling and head in that direction.

Be ready to preach and teach. You may not have a scheduled time to preach. And you may have to share opportunities with other associates. So take advantage of every chance you get. Be ready. Don’t wait to get a date before you prepare. Study now. Write a sermon. Get your pastor’s input. Show him by your work that you are ready. And don’t wait for Sunday morning spots. Volunteer for a Sunday school class, prayer breakfast, or funeral. Teach whenever you can. Prepare for the pastorate by increasing your skill and experience in ministering the word.

Learn everything you can. Consider yourself an intern. Be marked present. Get involved. Participate in behind the scenes work, not just platform stuff. Follow your pastor around. Ask a lot of questions. Listen to the answers. Don’t talk too much. Process what you experience. Learn from successes and mistakes. Soak up all the knowledge and wisdom you can get.

Be proactive about your growth. Time doesn’t fix a flat tire. And it does not produce a skilled minister. You must be intentional about your development. Don’t be pulpit furniture. Don’t be guilty of ministerial sloth. And don’t wait for others to invest in you. Read. Study. Go to school. Attend of ongoing training events. Seek out your pastor’s counsel, guidance, and mentorship. Ask for assignments that will help you grow. Don’t be indifferent about your ministerial future. Determine to be the best you can be for God.

Be loyal to your pastor. The pastor was voted, called, or selected to lead the church. You were not. It is not your place to run ahead of the pastor or to work against him. You are there to assist him. Respect him, even if you are older. Support him, even if you have been there longer. Honor him, even if you have more training or experience. Pray for him. Do whatever you can to help him. Be trustworthy. Keep private information confidential. Do not speak against the pastor to members. Do not listen to members speak against the pastor. Remember the Golden Rule (Matt. 7:12).

Have a servant’s spirit. The paradox of Christian discipleship is that the one who would lead must be a servant. This is the Christian way to leadership. We are servant-leaders. Serving as an associate minister can help you develop a proper attitude toward Christian leadership. Be a servant. Imitate the one who washed his disciples feet (John 13). Make yourself available to serve. Serve as to the Lord, not for men. And don’t get offended when you are treated like a servant!

Keep your ego in check. Don’t let compliments, encouragements, and opportunities go to your head. You may be a better preacher or leader than your pastor. But it may just be your pride talking. Regardless, there is a reason the Lord has placed under his leadership. And it is not to compete with the pastor. Be humble. Be submissive. Be faithful. In due time, the Lord will exalt you. Don’t exalt yourself!

Do not usurp authority. If you are not the senior pastor, do not presume authority that is not yours. Do what you are asked to do. Don’t take liberties with the opportunities you are given. Don’t let leaders or members pressure you to act impetuously. Don’t make a golden calf for the people while the leader is away. If in doubt, ask. Or, better yet, don’t do it. Stay in your lane.

Wait your turn. You have a burden to pastor. It has been your heart’s desire for some time. You have done what you can to prepare yourself. But no doors have opened. You are stuck in God’s waiting room. Don’t get impatient. God knows who you are and where you are. God knows the place he has for you. God also knows how and when to get your there. Don’t be weary in well doing. Trust that God’s timing is perfect.

Leave when it’s time to leave. You are asking for trouble if you leave an assignment prematurely. God punishes AWOL soldiers. At the same time, don’t stay too long. Don’t sit in neutral unnecessarily. Don’t hide out from your true calling. Don’t be a source of confusion or disunity. If you do not respect your leader or cannot follow his leadership, leave. But make sure you leave in a way that leaves the door open.

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