Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Training Day

Saturday was our second annual YouthWorker Training Day here in Kansas City. This is a day for paid and volunteer youth workers which seeks to equip and launch them into a new year of ministry. This year, our general session speaker was Chris Folmsbee of SonLife. I have known Chris for about a year and it has been a blast interacting with him. He’s a thinker and he pushes me to think outside of my box. He did a fantastic job inspiring our volunteers to bring students into the presence of Jesus. As leaders we are not called primarily to program or hang out or have fun, but rather to show Jesus to students. This can happen in our programs, in our hang out times, and in our fun times, but it does not always happen. The questions become “why not?” and “what are you going to do about it?”

The day also includes two seminar sessions which are taught be local youth workers. These are sometimes really good and sometimes not so good. They are good when the presenter remembers… 1) the audience is primarily volunteers who help in ministries and 2) keep it short. The seminars are a real bummer when the audience is filled with volunteers and the presenter spends the entire time talking to them like they were the lead youth worker – or able to make final decisions. They are also a bummer when the presenter feels like they must communicate 3 hours of material in the hour they have.

Overall this was a great day and those from my team who attended seemed to be glad they did.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Go 24...

Last night was a good night for my favorite TV Show, 24.

lightning Strike

Friday I was sitting in my office doing a bit of catch up work. It was a bit stormy out and all of a sudden "CRACK!" It was the loudest thunder clap I had heard in a long while. In about a three second time span I heard the clap, thought in my head "holy cow, that was close," and then saw a shower of wood splinters coming down in the parking lot out front. Lightning had struck the big oak tree behind our neighbor's property (a pet crematorium - cool place) and had splintered one large limb all over the place. No one was hurt and no property was significantly damaged.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Fantasy Football

Last night I participated in my first fantasy football draft. It’s funny, last year was the first year I “played” fantasy football. I say “played” because I was paired with someone who knew what they were doing and I really just watched as he did all the work. This year, I am in two leagues. The first, last night’s draft, is with our church staff. It’s a ton of fun to badger each other from week to week and I look forward to it. However, I noticed yesterday in preparation for the draft that my inbox was hit like 50 times with banter back and forth between staff members. I read an article a week or so ago about how work efficiency drops during the season – I now know why – I’m not sure any of us got as much done as we normally would and all I did was delete all the emails (and chime in once telling everyone to get back to work – I’m such a task oriented person). Anyway, here’s the team I ended up with – good, bad, or otherwise. Hope we do okay.

Hasselbeck, Matt QB SEA
James, Edgerrin RB IND
Lewis, Jamal RB BAL
Burleson, Nate WR SEA
Galloway, Joey WR TB
Harrison, Marvin WR IND
Davis, Vernon TE SF
Tynes, Lawrence K KC
Brees, Drew QB NO
Barber, Marion RB DAL
Bell, Tatum RB DEN
Robinson, Marcus WR MIN
Steelers, DST DST PIT

Monday, August 21, 2006


Yesterday was our annual summer baptism. Man, I love these days. It’s fun to see people make this step in their spiritual journey. I had the privilege of baptizing eight middle school students. Each is at a different place in their journey, but each was ready to make this statement to all who were present. Each was, in their own way, saying “I love Jesus and want each of you to know that and would like each of you to help me grow in my love of the Lord.” It was awesome.

These are some of the great blessings of youth ministry.

Thursday, August 17, 2006


Last night at 1:30 my phone rang. It was a 17-year-old girl from our high school ministry (a former middle schooler) who was staying at home alone and was scarred. She asked if my wife and I would come over and check things out. So, off we went. (BTW – I told my wife that she would not make a good emergency response team member as after this distressing call she got dressed, went to the bathroom, got a drink and wrote a note to our sleeping kids before we left). When we arrive at her house, she had also called the police – smart kid – and the officer, my wife, and I went into the house to see what was up. Turns out it was nothing but a scarred teenager – bless her heart. So, we brought her to our house and she slept in the guest room for the rest of the night.

Isn’t if funny what ministry to students throws your way sometimes?

Teens need love...

Each fall, I host grade level cookouts at my house for the students in our ministry. For three Wednesday’s in a row in August students from one grade level each week pack into my house for burgers, hot dogs, and a chance to have some fun together. Last night it was the 7th graders turn.

One girl stood out to me and grabbed my heart, as it was apparent all she really wants is an adult who will love her. Her home life is really screwed up, she lives with a grandparent that obviously does not really want her, and that after her own mother does not really want her. Her father is deceased and, in general, there are not many around who really look after her. Her other set of grandparents are Christ followers and I’m not really sure why she does not live with them, but I know there are some tensions there.

Bottom line is my heart hurts for the thousands of kids like this who just need love. We all have students like this girl who have been dealt a poor hand in life and who need some love and positive attention from an adult. Keep up the good work my friends, these kids need us.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

I've got bad judgment

Recently I was contracted by someone to create a team video for a 12 year old baseball team. I love to work with final cut pro and other pro tools to create video projects. It's kind of like creative memories on steroids. So, anyway, I thought it was a great idea (get paid to do something you love). In the end, I put together, what I thought, was a pretty good project. I used songs from POD, Toby Mac, Andy Hunter, along with Styx, Queen, and others. It was a great product.

After review from the client, they emailed me some complaints about the music. Now, it's important to note that I would not consider them to be up on what is hot with teens, and I know I am not as up on this as I could be, but being that I work with this age, I thought I could find a good balance between what they would like to hear and what the parents would find appealing. I guess I was wrong. What I got was a letter questioning my judgment. It's also important to note that this person knows I am a pastor and they attend one of the local Catholic parishes. My hope was to be a good representative of Christ as I strove for something excellent and beautiful. What I got was a questioning of my judgment and a diminished impact in the life of this family.

What I found humorous in the whole thing was the fact that the songs that were not acceptable were all the Christian songs and the 70's Styx song (These are the times) was "sexually charged" and not something that was appropriate for this age group. What I wanted to ask was "what do you think your son is listening to on his IPOD?" "What do you think the boys are hearing on the radio?" I refrained because the customer is always right. But come I really have bad judgment? I hope not!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Summer is over...Hurray!!!!!

I don't know about you, but I have a lot of mixed emotions about the summer (BTW - do you know what the definition of mixed emotions is? When your mother-in-law drives your new car off a cliff). In some ways I love the summer. It's a great time to hang with students, the weekly programs are less in number and take less time and energy to pull off (besides, interns do all the work anyway), and connections with new kids are awesome. BUT - I'm a guy of structure and routine and the summer kills me in this realm. The randomness of the schedule drives me crazy. Finding time to "get it all done" seems to be a constant problem (i.e. this blog - I haven't posted in months - I'm a dork). Well, anyway, school starts here in Kansas City this Thursday for most students. With this comes some sanity and some peace for a few weeks before our fall calendar gets into full gear.

For the two of you who read this blog - sorry for the absence - but the summer is over and my personal feelings about life and ministry get a lot more predictable.