Live For the Applause

Even if you don’t listen to Gaga’s music, chances are you’ve heard this song on a commercial for cars that look like hamster cages.

Most of us will never know what it’s like to live for the kind of applause artists like Lady Gaga are ensnared by.  But if we’re honest, many of us do appreciate an occasional round of hand clapping and/or ‘great job!’

There are a few issues with living for applause while serving in ministry, though.

A) – It’s likely not to come.  For those of us who love through words of affirmation, lack of an occasional encouraging word can be a concrete block chained to our ankles as we balance precariously on the ledge of obedience versus the altar of praise.

B) – When it does come, we lose focus on whose accomplishment it is.  I can be an expert all day long and serve from a long history of experience.  Still, anything good that comes from me comes through Jesus.  The accolades of men can sometimes fog that reality.

C) – Likes, shares, and blog followers are fickle.  As quickly as they love, they leave if you write something disagreeable.  Praise and appreciation for a job well done are just that – they’re for the job.  When we attach our personal worth to encouraging words, we’re deeply shattered when adulation doesn’t come – or worse yet, becomes dissent.

Truth?  This is a daily struggle for me.  I like to be liked and valued and appreciated.  But if I boil my life down to the final sauce in the pot – I really just want one praise-phrase to sum up it all up for me:  ‘Well done, my good and faithful son.’ Cue the applause.

10 Things Parents Wish They Heard from Youth Pastors

parentsI grabbed my issue of Group Magazine yesterday and read it cover to cover for the first time in a long time (thank you, electrical outage).  Each issue has a Top 10 list – and this issue was Top 10 Things Youth Pastors Wish They Heard from Parents.  It got me thinking… (smell the smoke)?

Parents hear a lot of stuff from youth workers….sometimes junk they wish they hadn’t heard!  Here are ten things I bet parents wish they heard from youth pastors:

10.   Your kid is awesome – you’re doing a great job with him!

9.  Parenting is tough.  I don’t know how you do it!

8.  They grow out of more than their clothes.  Don’t worry – this will pass.

7.  What can I do for you?

6.  Your kid said something great about you last night and I wanted you to know.

5.  I know things have been tough.  Here’s a scholarship for our next event.

4.  I read this Bible verse and thought of you.  (Just make sure it isn’t ‘Jesus wept’ or something equally ‘communicative’.)

3.  We’d love to have your family over for dinner this week.  How’s Tuesday look for you?

2.  Thank you for allowing me the privilege of speaking into your family’s life.

1.  Can I pray for you?  (And then, actually pray for them….right then.)

I have heard a few of these things from our youth pastor.  I have said a few of these things as the youth pastor.  What would you add to the list?

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