Thursday, February 15, 2007

We're Off (Finally....I Think)

We have decided to go ahead and take a shot at leaving tomorrow morning (Friday) around 6:30-7a.m. Eastern Standard Time. I got the ION hooked onto the tow dolly and secured to the truck today so we are just waiting until morning. Hopefully everything goes ok and we will be Virginia - bound tomorrow morning. We should arrive around 4-5 p.m. EST in Leesburg.

We'd apreciate your prayers!

The Church Office: Episode 1

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


Due to the inclimate weather across the entire northeastern United States, we have decided to wait until the roads clear up before we attempt to drive down to Virginia. Lindsay and were both looking forward to getting to Leesburg by tonight but that obviously isn't going to happen.

I got off of the phone a little earlier this evening with my senior pastor who said that the roads through the mountains in Maryland and West Virginia are horrible and that he doesn't think we should chance it.

More to come!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Getting Closer

I have one more full day as a Michigan citizen - I leave for Virginia on Wednesday. Lindsay is traveling down with me but will come back up to MI on Monday the 19th. It's going to be difficult to get through the next six months without her until we get married in September - she has been such a stronghold for me in my ministry. She is the best ministry partner I could ever imagine having and I can't wait to have her by my side every day.

I'd really appreciate your prayers as we travel Wednesday - it is supposed to be icy and snowy and we are driving a 17' truck with my Saturn ION dragging along behind us - through the mountains and everything.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Youth Ministry Ideas: Issue 1

I'm starting a brand new ministry next week as I move down to Virginia and I have spent a lot of time shooting emails back and forth between the current youth leader (volunteer who will stay on after I come on staff) and teens as well as parents.

I have decided that if I am ever going to lead an effective student ministry, I need to express my ideas and vision for ministry with everyone so I have come up with three steps in order to do this

1. Meet with the Adult/Student Leadership Team - These people have been in ministry at this location for longer than I have and they know what has worked and what hasn't. Because of my age (22) I will present my plan and vision first and then ask for their idea so that they can see that I possess the ideas and direction needed to lead this ministry but their input and ideas will greatly effect the way we do ministry together. I have not done a great job at communicating my vision and purpose with a leadership team of adults and students at my current church and that is something that needs to be done; if nobody knows my vision, we'll never reach our destination.

2. Meet with Parents - These are the people that I am prone to distance myself from because I may be insecure about my age and experience but they are going to be my greatest resource in ministry. Parents spend each and every day with their teenagers; I will only see each teen at the most, 2-3 times a week and that is not enough time for me to reach them unless I am working alongside parents. After going to the leadership team, we will address the parents with a unified vision and purpose for ministry, along with a plan to get us there. This will show parents that
(a) We care about their teenagers
(b) We care about their family
(c) We value their input
(d) We have a God-given plan for ministry

3. Meet with Students - I'm planning on taking 1-2 students out each week to get to know them and so that they can get to know me. I am a single guy in my 20's and even though I'll be married in September, there still exists the potential for problems when it comes to girls so I am adopting a rule that I have held at my current church - NEVER BE ALONE WITH A GIRL....EVER! If I need to meet 1-on-1 with a female student, I'll make sure that we are in an area that is easily seen by anyone and someone else will be around who knows what is going on. I'll probably talk more on this later on but I wanted to make sure that I clarified that I won't take a female student out alone.

I am brand new to full-time paid ministry and I expect that there will be several roadblocks that will come up but I am optimistic that God will provide leadership and guidance and He will work in and through me and the entire ministry.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Youth Ministry.....Unbiblical?

I went to a blog I check out daily and on it, there is a post about the argument on whether or not youth ministry is biblical. Check it out!


Yesterday I received word that two families I know of had lost a loved one. One of these families attends my church and the other is a friend from high school who lost her dad.

Why is it that we hate posting about death? I sat down for about 5 minutes just thinking about whether or not to actually write a post about this. I think that it's because it scares me to think about death because there are so many people in my life right now that I cannot imagine losing. Maybe on a subconscious level (I don't enter Freud land too often so humor me, please) I worry that if I type it and think it, that it may in fact happen; which is totally unsound and has not a single shred of merit in any way, shape or form.

This is a part of ministry that I know I will have to face at some point but I do not look forward to it because I remember how difficult it is to lose someone and I am at a loss to convey God's grace through death to people.

If you have had experience with this - either in ministry or life in general, I'd greatly appreciate your ideas and experience stories!

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Kung Fu Youth Pastor

Thoughts about Parents from Doug Fields

10 Ways to Validate Parents

1. Learn parents' names and who their children are
2. While attending students' events (recitals, games), visit with parents
3. Compliment parents on their parenting. Recognize the strengths in their children and give parents the credit. ("You've sure done something right, Mrs. Jones. You son's a servant. That sure is rare among teenagers")
4. Send parents a note following a conversation with them ("It was great taling to you at John's game yesterday. I sure appreciate your family.")
5. Listen to parents. Consider their input regarding the youth ministry. You don't have to respond to every suggestion, but assure them that you care about their ideas.
6. Express your feelings about the importance of the family. Let parents know you value their family and respect them. make your youth calendar family-friendly. Don't ask kids to be out more than two nights a week.
7. Acknowledge that parents love, care for, and do more for their children that you will ever do. Your role in their lives may be significant, but you'll never take the place of a parent.
8. Organize a parent appreciation dinner once a year.
9. Encourage kids to sit with their parents during the church service.
10. Respect parents' time. Return from your events by the time you promised. (We expect parents to be on time to pick up their kids, right?)

"Your First two Years in Youth Ministry" is available at This was a direct quote from the book and was not my own words.

Friday, February 2, 2007

Wedding Frustrations

I'm new to planning a wedding and frankly, I don't have to do a whole lot. But my fiancee does and I know that she has been getting quite stressed out lately because of family issues and everything else that is going on. Sometimes I think it may be easier to simply elope but then we would have to put up with people being upset at us the rest of our lives - plus, we both want to have a wedding ceremony.

I leave February 14th for Virginia and will be there until the wedding in September - I can't wait until this whole thing is behind us and we can have our wedding and honeymoon and begin our life together as a family. My family was so messed up that I can't wait to have the chance to begin a family on the right foot and to have a Christian home built on God and scripture.

There will be more updates as the next six months go along and I suspect that the frustration level will only get worse but with the help of God, we will make it through this and prayerfully, our two families will draw closer to God through this entire experience.