Ministry Fertilizer

Youth Pastor.. don’t let them put us in a box!
October 23, 2007, 12:12 pm
Filed under: Principles of Youth Ministry, Sound Advice

During short vacation last February I was flipping through the tv and saw a cartoon called King of the Hill was talking about church youth groups. It was called “Reborn to be Wild” and was nominated for an award by The Writers Guild of America. Which is amazing how Christians adults can not talk about Christ at school because it will offend students but they will go home and watch 4 hours of television that loves for Christianity to be its punch line.

I tried to find the video clip and couldn’t but I did find a good junk of the script at I encourage you to read the his post. There are some classic lines such as “It doesn’t make Christianity better just rock and roll worse” 

In this particular episode Bobby (Hank’s son who must be twelve or thirteen) becomes involved with a youth group and the far-too-cool youth pastor, Pastor K. Hank is reluctant to have Bobby involved in this type of group, where all the kids skateboard, listen to loud music and generally try to make God cool. Bobby becomes captivated by the group and seeks to impress his parents with his new friends.

The show wraps up with Hank teaching Bobby an important lesson.

BOBBY: When I turn 18, I’m going to do whatever I want for the Lord. Tattoos, piercings, you name it.
HANK: Well, I’ll take that chance. Come here, there’s something I want you to see. (Hank takes down a box from the shelf and opens it up) Remember this?
BOBBY: My beanbag buddy? Oh, man, I can’t believe I collected those things. They’re so lame.
HANK: You didn’t think so five years ago. And how about your virtual pet? You used to carry this thing everywhere. Then you got tired of it, forgot to feed it, and it died.
BOBBY (looks at a photo of himself in a Ninja Turtles costume): I look like such a dork.
HANK: I know how you feel. I never thought that “Members Only” jacket would go out of style, but it did. I know you think stuff you’re doing now is cool, but in a few years you’re going to think it’s lame. And I don’t want the Lord to end up in this box.

The reason I believe that 8 out of 10 teenagers leave church after their out of the youth group is because Christianity goes into the box with everything else that was trendy at the time. They out grow church like they out grow cartoons. True relevance is relevance for a life time. Our students must see that the greatest part of church is the teacing of the Word and being equipped for ministry. If they do not see this when they move from our youth room to the “big room” and stop having water gun wars every Sat. they may not be interested in hanging around. We will be placed in a box! To be pulled out Lord willing when they are older.


Invest don’t Spend
October 22, 2007, 11:37 am
Filed under: Sound Advice

As a student in a missions training program in South America I heard one statement that has had a great influence on the style of ministry I have and desire to have.

I was told by W. Austin Gardner, Pastor of Vision Baptist Church, that I should “invest time into people and not just spend time with them“.

To many of the people in the room it may have been something they had heard him say before or maybe they did not catch the truth he was giving. I went home that day and looked up those two words.

I found out that..

spend:to pass (time) in a particular manner, place, etc

invest: to use, give, or devote (time, talent, etc.), as for a purpose or to achieve something

This two words and their definitions go through my head everytime I am with my students. It makes the difference in me becoming a leader trainer or an overgrown baby sitter.

I take this principle into consideration when I plan an activity. I ask will it allow me an opportunity to spend or invest time into the students.  It does not mean we only sit in desks and they take notes but I want to do things that will create environments where they will ask the questions I want them to ask. (example: Why don’t you want us to listen to a certain station on the radio? Why can’t the guys and girls do that together?)

Often times, these are the type of questions youth workers work at avoiding. Why? It is always easier to spend then invest. If you don’t believe me look at your checking account. Which was more fun.. the spending or the investing.

With this principle in mind everytime I walk into a classroom, on the basketball court with a teenager, or sit down to eat a meal with my youth I ask myself during this time how can I make an investment and add value to my teens. ..

If I could ask for one thing in your life, I would ask that you become a person who is intentional about adding value to the people around you!

Here is a lesson by John Maxwell on how to add value

Four ways to add value to people:

1. You have to value the people.
2. You have to make yourself more valuable.
3. You have to know and relate to what people value. We are first listeners, then learners, then leaders. The only way you and I ever connect is by caring to listen.
4. I have to do the things that God values.