February 27, 2009

Safety vs Pushing The Limit

Filed under: Youth Ministry — Neil @ 11:34 am

Safety vs. Pushing The Limit is always a battle in youth ministry.  Having fun, but still keeping it safe.

It’s always been there in my years as a youth minister.  At my 1st church I caught 3 teens on the roof of the house we met for our weekly Bible study.  I chewed them out & probably still have some repenting to do for how I said what I said to them.

Catching teens jumping off a cliff/tree into a shallow part of a river.  They thought I was the meansest youth minster ever.

The time I did summer camp on the beach.  On our first day the red flags were out.  Every other youth minister let his group get in the ocean.  I was the worst/meanest youth minster ever.  I know ’cause one of my guys told me.  Day 2 still the red flag.  Their opinion of me didn’t improve.  Thankfully, during the afternoon of day 2 the red flag was replaced w/ the yellow one.

Our group is suppose to be going to Athens, Greece this summer for a mission trip.  It’s been in the works for over 2 years.  But then this stuff happened (& still hasn’t settled down).  I met w/ the group & parents this week to inform them that we are still going on a mission trip, but just not to Greece.  We will still advance the Gospel the week of July 11-18, but just in a place that we are confident is much safer.

Safety is always on my mind as a youth minster.  It’s why I can seldom really enjoy any youth event.  I even had one of my former teens tell me the other day while catching up w/ him over lunch  “Man, I wish I had your job.  You get to take all those vacations with the youth group.”  I responded to him about like I did to the guys who I caught on the roof of the house in my early days in youth ministry.

Daily Reminder

Filed under: Uncategorized — Neil @ 11:12 am

Do You Deserve It? Seth GodinThis picture is of a blog post/quote from Seth Godin entitled Do You Deserve It?

I printed it out, cut away the excess paper & pasted it onto a card.  I have it placed on my desk where I see & read it several times each day.

It’s a great reminder to me that I don’t deserve the luck/opportunities/blessings I’ve received.

Here’s the entire qoute:

Do you deserve the luck you’ve been handed? The place you were born, the education you were given, the job you’ve got? Do you deserve your tribe, your customer base, your brand?

Not at all. “Deserve” is such a loaded word. Most of us don’t deserve the great opportunities we have, or the lucky breaks that got us here.

The question shouldn’t be, “do you deserve it.” I think it should be, “what are you going to do with it now that you’ve got it?”


Filed under: Parents — Neil @ 7:30 am

Ed Stetzer posted some excerpts from this article on some just released research on parenting on his blog. You can view Ed’s complete post here or the entire article here.

  • Most American parents feel their parenting skills and family life are pretty good, but they are reluctant to describe their homes as peaceful, relaxed or joyful and their daily family time consists mostly of eating dinner and watching television
  • Only 14 percent indicate they are very familiar with what the Bible has to say about parenting, the research revealed. Twenty-seven percent of Protestant parents are very familiar with what the Bible has to say about parenting compared to only 7 percent of Catholic parents. Among parents with evangelical beliefs, 52 percent say they are very familiar with the Bible’s parenting advice…
  • 61 percent completely ignore parenting seminars and 53 percent have no use for books by religious parenting experts
  • Among parents who attend religious worship services weekly, 38 percent indicate they get no encouragement from a sacred text such as the Bible, Torah or Koran and 24 percent report getting no encouragement from their church or place of worship. Forty-three percent of Protestant parents and 85 percent of Catholic parents do not receive encouragement from a sacred text. As for their church, 39 percent of Protestant parents and 71 percent of Catholic parents say it is not a source of encouragement as a parent.

As a youth minister these are some pretty alarming statistics.  Particularly, that 39% of protestant parents say that their church isn’t a source of encouragement & 43% say that they do not receive encouragement from the Bible.  If these stats are accurate it’s time churches start rethinking what we do & how we do it.

Parents, how do you respond to these statistics? Accurate?  Way of base?  What could the church do to be a source of encouragement for you as you parent teenagers?  I’d like to hear from you.  Email me if you’d like.

February 26, 2009

The Teenager Audio Test

Filed under: Uncategorized — Neil @ 12:42 pm

No clue if this is true, but since I passed I say that it is.

Train Horn

Created by Train Horn

Did you pass or fail?

Wednesday Reflections

Jr. High

  • crowd – still down from our average, but getting back close to normal; hopefully, by next week the flu bug will be gone
  • music – had a coffee shop due to a lack of a drummer; Josh is still recovering from being sick & we did more slower songs than normal but I thought he teens responded pretty well
  • talk – I felt the best about this talk of the 3 in Crossroads.  I got a few texts from students about what they learned.  The talk was about how fear is a roadblock in making godly decisions.

Sr. High

  • crowd – see above;
  • music – see above; slower songs for the entire set; I thought Josh & Topher did a great job w/ the transitions between songs & w/ taking turns leading different songs
  • talk – the topic of fear seemed to hit home w/ the group; by far the best of the 3 talks in Crossroads to this group.  Based on the response to the topic of fear I’m staring to think about doing a series on it next fall

February 25, 2009

Should I force my teenager to go to church?

Filed under: parenting,Parents,Youth Ministry — Neil @ 2:13 pm

I’m faced w/ that question on a regular basis or something similar like “Is it ok to ground my teen from church?”.

D.C. Curry, youth pastor at Granger, answered the question on his pastor’s blog.  Here’s what he said:

My blunt answer is yes!

The Bible teaches us that one of the responsibilities of a parent is to “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

One thing I love about this passage is that it projects that there is a way in which a child should go…because there is.  There are so many important things that parents will make their children do without even thinking about it like take baths, go to bed, brush their teeth, go to school, but when it comes to church they resort to the great debate.  “Should I or should I not?”

It seems to me that the same reason that governs why they have to brush their teeth, go to school, get some sleep, take baths, should be the same reason that governs why they should go to church, it’s important!  So we make/force our kids to do everything that we think is important so if we don’t make/force them to go to church does that mean we don’t think it’s important?

As a parent, it may not always be popular to make them go to church but it has eternal implications.  It’s not just about their attendance, it’s about their eternity.  We who are charged with the care of students (parents, youth pastors, teachers, godparents, etc.) must see to it that they find The Way and are trained to live in that Way.
Also know that training is not always easy, comfortable, or fun, and usually doesn’t come without a bit of pain.

A very respected parent recently told me, “I don’t care what they want to do, I (as the parent) am committed to getting my kids in environments where they can grow closer to Christ.”   He believes it’s important, so he follows that up with his actions.

Do you agree?

February 24, 2009


Filed under: Uncategorized — Neil @ 8:55 am

In these difficult economic times generosity is incredibly valuable.  Everone is seemingly terrified by the state of the economy.  When an organization or individual is generous w/ their resources it stands out.

2 great examples of generosity are:

  • – An incredible church that gives away just about everything.
    • You Version, an online Bible that has great social networking tools built in.  I find myself using the You Version iPhone App on a regular basis.  I use it to read Scripture, youth devotions/Bible studies, as my Bible in worship services (no, I’m not texting during worship service to those of you who have given me the “I can’t believe our youth minister is texting in churc look”).
    • Open – they give away small group curriculum, sermon series, youth ministry series, children’s ministry series; I think this in a future this type of sharing between churches is what denominations/associations will look like.
    • Church Metrics – a free tool they developed that allows churches to track attendance, giving, salvations, & baptisms.
  • Google – Yes, I know Google exist to make a profit, but there “free” apps are amazing
    • Google Calendar – we (Parkway) is using Google Calendar for our church calendar on the soon to be revealed new
    • Google Maps – I honestly don’t know how people found stuff before Google Maps.  Have you checked the ocean view in Google Earth

How can you/your organization be generous with your resources?

February 21, 2009

Friday Night

Filed under: Family,Pictures — Neil @ 10:06 am

Last night Amanda’s family came over.  We ate.  Played the Wii.  Were entertained by 1 month old.  Here’s the proof:

Amanda giving her parents Mario Kart instructions

Amanda giving her parents Mario Kart instructions

Dakin w/ his favorite uncle

Dakin w/ his favorite uncle


February 20, 2009

Failure is a necessity?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Neil @ 11:29 am

This afternoon I spending some time reading It: How Churches and Leaders Can Get It and Keep It.  It’s written by Craig, pastor of

You can buy the book here.  If you prefer videos to books you can buy the video at the same place or at Amazon.

In this preview Craig says that failure is a necessity.  Do you agree?


Filed under: Uncategorized — Neil @ 8:57 am

Work.  A word that creates a wide range of emotions.  Fun.  Tiring.  Can’t stand it.  Fulfilling.

God designed us to work.  It is there before sin (Gen. 1:28-31).

Proverbs 6:6-11
6 Go to the ant,  you slacker!
Observe its ways and become wise.

7 Without leader, administrator, or ruler,

8 it prepares its provisions in summer;
it gathers its food during harvest.

9 How long will you stay in bed, you slacker?
When will you get up from your sleep?

10 A little sleep, a little slumber,
a little folding of the arms to rest,

11 and your poverty will come like a robber,
your need, like a bandit.

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