Straight Talk for New Youth Pastors 1

drill_sergeantI write a column for Group Magazine called The Youth Ministry Drill Sergeant.  Sometimes, I’m known for shooting straight – plain talk – ‘telling it like it is.’  :)   Today will be one of those days.  Inspired by a friend of mine (you’ll hear from him tomorrow), I’m throwing out three ‘gems’ of wisdom – straight talk for the new youth pastor.

1.  Parents are not your problem.  You are.  Stop viewing parents as the enemy.  They are the most important spiritual force a student will ever have.  If you marginalize them – you marginalize the student.  Build some bridges. Make an effort – even if they don’t.

2.  Don’t spend more time on programming than you do relationships and Bible study.  It makes your ministry a mile wide and an inch deep (and it might make YOU that, too.)  It’s a slippery slope – so pay attention to where your best efforts are being funneled.

3.  Your age is relative and does NOT make your more relatable to students.  What helps students relate to adults is care – concern – love – investment.  You will be old some day – and unless you’re using youth ministry as a stepping stone, you better hope your age isn’t the only thing you have going for you.  Use various age groups for leadership in your ministry – just make sure they all love God and love teenagers.  That’s what makes them relevant in the life of teenagers.

More straight talk tomorrow….this message brought to you by your friendly neighborhood drill sergeant.

11 Things I Never Thought I’d Say That I Said in 2011

Yes – I know it’s 2012 and everyone is more committed and disciplined than I because they’re all posting 12 things about 2012.  Sorry.  I’m really just now wrapping my brain around the new year!

Stick a fork in 2011 – it’s done.  And thank the Lord!!  Here are 11 things that I said (or thought loudly) in 2011 that I never dreamed would be passing through these hallowed lips.

11 – Preaching’s not so bad.  (WHAT??!!  I HATE PREACHING!)

10 – Isaac, do you have your license with you?  (WHAT??!!  I HAVE A 16 YEAR OLD SON!)

9 – Sure, I’ll be the pastor.  (WHAT??!!  SEE #11!)

8 – I can’t.  I have a book deadline.  (WHAT??!!  I’M WRITING A BOOK – AND NOT JUST AS A HOBBY!)

7 – Timmy, come here and add this for me.  (WHAT??!!  HOW DID I PRODUCE A MATH GENIUS?)

6 – Just let it happen.  (WHAT??!!  I SHOULD BE IN CONTROL!)

5 – We’re life-changing radio – 91.7, KBNJ.  (WHAT??!!  I LOVE DJ-ING!)

4 – Praying for you, buddy.  (WHAT??!!  HOW MANY HURTING YOUTH WORKERS CAN THERE BE, LORD?)

3 – Max, will you make dinner tonight?  (WHAT??!!  HOW DOES MY 10 YEAR OLD COOK BETTER THAN ME?)

2 – Katie, you’ve had more blog views in one day than I’ve had…ever!  (WHAT??!! SHE’S FREAKING AMAZING – THAT’S WHAT!)

1 – God is good.  (Nope – I knew I’d say that….because He is, even when life is a struggle.)


It’s no massive secret that I have been counting down the days until I could plunge a long butcher knife deep into the beating heart of 2011.  I hope I didn’t miss anything God had for me by looking so hard for the end.  Tis true – I’m glad 2011 is over.  But I am grateful for all that God has taught me this year.  I’m humbled that He has tasked me with some things I never thought I could (or would) do.  I’m looking forward to 2012 – and not because I want it to be ‘better’ than 2011 (even though I am not-so-secretly hoping it will be).  I anticipate this new year because I believe 2011 was merely God’s preparation for things to come.  And I embrace its arrival….


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