Monthly Archives: January 2015

Generation “Me”…Just how bad is it?

The generation of baby boomers, because of its narcissistic nature, has become known as the “Me Generation”.  Well, the millennial generation that has followed them has followed suit.  As Time Magazine puts it, this generation is more like the “Me Me Me Generation”.  Sure, they are more cause focused and seek out relationships over real estate.  But the “me” is definitely growing.  For those that work with this generation (technically I am part of this generation as well) know how true this can be.  Listen to this secular presentation as proof to this claim.  The statistics and measurables are worth the price of admission (High School Seniors mentioned at the 8:40 mark).

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5 Ways A Pastor is Like Being an NFL Coach

The Super Bowl is just around the corner, the playoffs are here, and the NFL is dominating the sports world. As I think of the life of an NFL coach, there are many similarities between the life of a pastor and the life of an NFL coach. Here are five examples that may or may not be true in your ministry:nfl-coaches-ownersmtg-belichick

Power Struggle

All too often, the coach and GM do not seem to get along. We saw this in the case of Jim Harbaugh. Why in the world would you fire a coach that led you to 3 straight conference championships and one year removed from a Super Bowl? It makes little sense. But it was the power struggle that forced the hand of the owner.

When a church does not work like the body described in I Corinthians 12, there will be power struggles. Church members holding ministries too tightly and pastors forcing their hand in places where grace was needed… can cause a power struggle. It makes little sense when we all should be reaching for the same goals of reaching the lost and building the faith of believers. Yet, Satan grabs a foothold on the team and causes separation.

Work Long Hours

This is a great article. An inside look at the life of a Super Bowl winning coach, John Harbaugh. NFL coaches work ridiculous hours trying to gain that extra advantage on their opponent and to make their team better.

Many pastors lives are no different. I love this article. Some congregations expects a pastor to fulfill these roles each week, but there just isn’t enough hours on the clock. As a result, pastors are putting in crazy hours to fulfill very high expectations. Am I complaining? No. I find it a privilege to serve my people, but it makes for long hours at times (More so for pastors in senior or lead pastor roles).

Criticism Often Comes From the Fans

You’ve seen it driving down the freeway. Fans have bought billboards asking for their coach to be fired. Have you ever gone on a message board for your team? Goodness, the criticism is ridiculous. Even when the team wins, fans are screaming about how bad the QB or coordinator’s play calls were. Most of the criticism a player or team receives is ironically from its own fans.

Now, I’m hoping there will never be the day where I drive down I-70 and see my picture on a billboard asking for me to be fired by my church. However, the principle is often true. Criticism of pastors often comes from within and from the church members, which the pastor loves and seeks to serve. It’s not a new thing, there was inner conflict all throughout the early church, and it often came from within.

Losing The Turnover Battle

If you are like me, and your NFL team suffers from years of futility, this time of year is not about enjoying the anticipation of a playoff game. But the inevitability of a search for a new head coach. (I have the daunting task of being a Bills fan, so we are usually searching for more than just a coach)

If you are a football fan, you know that the Monday after the season, many coaches receive the pink slip. It’s become so notorious for firings, it has become known as “Black Monday”.   According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, “Going back to the start of this century, there have been 95 head-coaching changes since 2000 — an average of 6.8 per season.” That’s astounding.

So how does this compare to the life of a pastor? Lance Witt, in his book “Replenish” outlines a similar problem. According to his research from various surveys, 1,500 pastors leave the ministry permanently each month. John Larue’s article in Christianity Today revealed 23% of pastors had been fired at some point, and 34% of pastors pastor a church where the previous pastor was forced to resign. With only 1 in 10 pastors actually retiring as a pastor, it shows you how much longevity is a challenge.

Rely on Elite Players vs. Developing Role Players

Look at the best teams in football. They typically have great drafts, team players, and key role-players. The teams that rely simply on their star players will never get very far. It has to be a team effort.

It is the same with the church. Have you heard of the 80/20 rule of church? In many churches, 80% of the ministry work comes from 20% of the people. This should not be true. Pastors must disciple and train up volunteers and people to serve.

It seems like discipleship has become a lost art. It should not be like the ugly step-sister of the Great Commission, but should be an integral part of the process. Not only should we go and share the Gospel, but ministry should be about discipling new believers, challenging them to serve, and equipping them to longevity in ministry.

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So now what?? Much of what was written was negative about the church. The last thing I would want to do is stop this blog leaving the church in a bad light. Even in the NFL, there are good coaches that consistently lead their teams well and have produced a winning culture.

I’m blessed to be in a church that is led Biblically, and by God’s grace has a culture of love, accountability, and is Gospel-driven.   Although we do not claim to be perfect, by any means, please do not take this article as a venting session of our problems, because that is far from the truth. But the purpose was to shine light on some flaws of the church that we each can do our part in changing.

Here’s what you can do to build up the church. Be in prayer for your pastor.   Encourage him. Support the leaders of the church. Find ways to serve. Don’t allow the church to be like the NFL. Do your part in making the church like the beautiful bride of Jesus Christ.

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2015 Youth Ministry Goals

As the saying goes, “if you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.”  It’s a saying that goes through my mind during this time of year.  Sure, God can re-direct, and we should always be willing to change our plans according to his direction.  But it is also wise to plan ahead and cast vision for the upcoming year.  Below are 8 goals that I have set for my 2015 ministry year…hoping they can provide you some inspiration as well.  Feel free to comment below with some of your goals!

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2015 Goals:

  • WIN Event—Continue to broaden worldview of students by teaching students the needs of the world. Also, provide an interactive learning experience where they research the world needs on their own.
  • Co-Mission Expansion—Collaborate with other youth pastors to plan a mission project or allow students to form community projects together.
  • New Events—These new events for students include CedarMania and a trip to the Creation Museum.
  • Community Reach—Continue the reach into community by working with a local school in a summer mission project.
  • Junior High Ministry—Continue to expand Junior High Ministry into more than Sunday School, but provide events just for Junior High.
  • Informal Hangout—This is a common request from teens. Add another “Hangtime”, and pursue opportunities to hang out with teens outside of church.
  • Student Led Mission Trip—Provide an opportunity for leadership students to lead a mission project over the summer.
  • Internship Track—Begin to develop ideas for future interns such as reading material, assignments, and training.

 

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2014 Year In Review

497606412_640Last year, these were my 2014 ministry goals.  Each year, I’m thankful for the opportunity to serve the Lord in such a wonderful ministry, church, and community.  Here’s how things played out this year, and maybe these ideas will help spark ideas for you new year.

  • “Bible Doing” – Bible Studies are great, but so is “Bible Doing”. During our local mission trip we held a Bible study that put our Bible lessons in action. Grade: A
  • Wedding & Funeral Message Outlines/Scripts – This took a great deal of prep work and discipline to sit down and write wedding scripts and funeral scripts even when I didn’t have any weddings or funerals to perform. But God knew…I had the privilege of officiating my first wedding, and had the honor of doing my grandmother’s funeral. Grade: A
  • Music Training Class – This class in still in the planning process. However, God supplied a new student praise band of 6 members.   This student-led band was a huge answer to prayer. Grade: Incomplete
  • Junior High Mission Trip – We held a mission project at the apartments right next door to the church. We helped landscape and clean up areas surrounding the apartments. It was a huge success building relationships with neighbors, and some even visited the church the following Sunday! Grade: A
  • Community Project – This project was combined with the Mission Trip described above. Grade: A
  • Host “Ask Your Leaders” Night – This night was a true blessing. Teens asked both informal and in-depth spiritual questions. Examples included questions about dating, afterlife, creation, and much more. Grade: B. Not every student was prepared with a question. I could have done better in allowing to think about questions for a longer period of time than just a few days
  • Sunday School Rehab – High School Sunday School has made some positive changes to teaching structure and discussion. And a Junior High Sunday School started this year!! Grade: A
  • Equip Parents/Families – Spiritual Growth Planning with several families, and expansion of Parent Training in Parent Meetings. Grade: B-. I still need to improve here. The meetings are my strength, but the informal discussions and meeting with parents outside of church walls needs to improve.
  • Continue Inter-generational and Discipleship Ministry– Young at Heart Lunch & Service, Combined Adult/Teen Service Projects. Grade: B+. Always room for improvement here, but was pleased with the progress.
  • Outreach – Easter Egg Hunt, Teen Outreach Events, & Better Visitor Discipleship/Follow-up. Grade: C. Sure there was great outreach with events and those that attend the church, but what about on the school campuses. Please pray I will have more opportunities to go on campus to share Christ.

2014 G.P.A. – 3.38.

Didn’t make the honor roll this year. Still have room for improvement. But I will say this, God truly blessed. I was able to perform a wedding for my sister-in-law, honor my grandmother in her homegoing, be part of two teens accepting Christ, serve alongside teens in numerous service projects in the church and community, and saw some incredible growth in teens and their parents. Thank you Lord for all you did in 2014. To God be the glory.

 

 

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