Footprints In The Sand Parody

i grew up with the “footprints in the sand” poem on the walls of our home and on coffee mugs everywhere. this video parody i found over at morethandodgeball.com made me laugh out loud really really hard. definitely gotta use this sometime soon…

enjoy!

 

Random Phone Photos

this cricket made the fatal mistake of sneaking in our house late at night a few weeks ago. they are so loud when they're inside. until you step on em, that is.

earlier in the summer we did a few “txt events”… random spur of the moment events where we sent out a txt to all our students and hung out together.this was one txt event where we pretty much took over the whole restaurant. five guys burgers and fries. we even had a bunch of parents come join us which gave it a nice family-friendly feel.

earlier this week we got to take a quick trip to the adirondacks with my family. shanna, adi, and my mom made it half way up. my dad, my brother and i made it up to the top!

she looks BIG here!

The Failure Of Modern Youth Ministry?

in church circles lately, there have been many conversations revolving around the so-called failure of modern youth ministry.

ya know… 80% of students graduating from their faith when they graduate high school.

yada yada yada

books have been written on the topic.

people no longer in the trenches of youth ministry have garnered a following talking about it.

conferences host breakout sessions on it.

churches have changed entire paradigms because of it.

and everyone wants to know “the future of youth ministry”.

 

but the most recent addition to the hype is a relatively new 1-hour documentary called “DIVIDED”.  you can watch it for free online right over here.

i was skeptical from the beginning, but told a friend upon their urging that i would watch it with an open mind.

i wish i had my hour back.

 

i’m not trying to be a jerk in this post, but it deeply bothers me to know that there are discouraged and defeated youth workers who are abandoning their calling because of a few logical fallacies in this film and around this conversation.

 

HERE ARE 4 BEEFS I HAVE WITH THE FILM:

1. the data used hardly represents the whole 

much of the film’s conclusions seem to be drawn from unrepresentative and biased samples. i question whether the film-maker truly went on a journey of discovery with his camera along the way, asking the same questions to a true variety of youth ministry experts… or if he already had his conclusion pre-determined and knew where the people he was interviewing stood on the issue. at the very least, the people and statements included in the film only represent one side of the debate.

2. the issue is grossly oversimplified

this film captures much of my frustration with this entire debate simply because it oversimplifies the complexity of why some students walk away from the faith, and why some stick around.  there’s a ton of factors involved when a college student decides to stop going to church, and it can hardly be authoritatively blamed on a student ministry that actually kept those same teens around during their teenage years.

  • some pitch it all because they find that a respected christian leader was really fake and deceptive and broke their trust.
  • some grow and make big strides in their high school years, and while they want to stay involved in church, they simply don’t yet know how to manage the overwhelming pressures for their time.
  • some throw it away because they know the fakeness of their parents’ faith during the week, and then they see their fervency on sundays… and it repulses them.
  • some are just stranded on campus because they don’t have a car (and the online church thing doesn’t get factored into the statistics)!
  • and part of it is simply this whole world/flesh/devil thing…

i thought kurt johnston summed it up well when he tweeted this:

3. improper assumptions (post hoc)

a post hoc fallacy occurs when you assume that one event “A” is the direct result of another event “B”, simply because “B” follows “A” in time. the movie leads you to draw the conclusion that when a student abandons church after high school, it’s the direct result of that church’s youth ministry (because it immediately preceded it in time). for instance, in the film philip leclerc tells of how his father started paying attention to their church’s student ministry when he turned 13, and then eventually pulled him out entirely because the people graduating didn’t turn out at the “desired level”…whatever that was. the inference is that the youth ministry actually harmed the students more than helped them.

4. age segregated ministry is not in the bible… therefore it’s unbiblical

slow down a minute, cowboy. there’s a lot of things that aren’t in the bible, but we would never go so far as to say it’s unbiblical. whatever’s in the bible is absolutely true, but just because something’s not in the bible doesn’t mean it’s not true. i would hate to give up driving my car and walk barefoot everywhere simply because car’s aren’t in the bible.

 

at the heart of this discussion, and what i DON’T hear people putting on the table, is the parable of the sower and the seeds from matthew 13. jesus tells us that as we do the work of ministry, we’ll be spreading the truth of His Word to 4 different categories of people. we don’t know who they are… we’re just told to spread it. and of those 4 categories, 3 of them will receive the truth but not let it take root in their lives. in other words, we’re talking 75%!  my bible pretty much says to expect this kinda thing. but you do it anyways because of that other 25%!

here’s the parable. and i even put it in the king james in case that helps 🙂

 

Matthew 13
1 The same day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the sea side.2 And great multitudes were gathered together unto him, so that he went into a ship, and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore.3 And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow;4 And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up:5 Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth:6 And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them:8 But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.9 Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.10 And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.12 For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.13 Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.14 And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive:15 For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.17 For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.
18 Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower.19 When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side.20 But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it;21 Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.22 He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.23 But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.

I Like This Lady Antebellum Song

i’m definitely not a big fan of country music. i can count on one hand the amount of songs in that genre i like.

but “i was here” by lady antebellum has just the right lyrics to make even me a fan.

 

now the challenge is going to be to get one of our student bands to open one of the services in our upcoming church-wide series with a cover of this song!  i believe it can happen!

I Don’t Care What They Say… Delegation Is Hard

“a good leader is a good delegator”

i’ve heard it a million times (probably because i need to lol)… and i believe it fully.  as a leader, you can’t do it all.  nor should you let your insecure self try.

but i just gotta say, this whole delegation thing isn’t as easy as people sometimes make it out to be.

here are 3 big reasons why i find delegation so difficult:

1. you have to delegate the right thing

there are many tasks and responsibilities on each of our desks, and they’re on our desks because we have to make sure they get done. but that doesn’t necessarily mean we have to be the one to personally do it. but… knowing which ones to take on ourselves and which ones to hand off is the tricky part. i’ve tried to delegate the wrong thing many times, and it ended up not getting done because the person saw it as something i should’ve done in the first place. and i’ve held onto the wrong thing for too long when it should never have stayed on my desk at all.

2. you have to delegate it to the right person

some people are ready for the task we feel like delegating. others are not. some just need to be developed and empowered more before it would really work. i’ve found that when a deadline is approaching and the job needs to get done, it’s easy to hand it off to the first person we see, even though it might not be the best person on the team for that job.

3. you have to delegate it to them at the right time

delegation involves people, and people have personal lives. especially in the context of leading volunteers in a ministry, we have to be super sensitive to the timing of certain requests. while the person being offered the task/responsibility ultimately has the responsibility to accept or decline of their own volition, sometimes it’s not even wise to ask simply because it’s not the right time.

maybe i’m over thinking it, but i believe that with the work of leadership – especially leadership in a church – God deserves our absolute best, and that demands a commitment to excellence. a faithful pursuit of excellence in itself makes this whole delegation business tricky.

do you have any advice for me on how to get better at this?

It’s Not The Healthy Who Need A Doctor

this week i had 2 conversations with 2 different people. one was expressing disappointment in our church and how our sunday services don’t go “deep” enough for the more “advanced” christian, and the other was expressing gratefulness that we were able to meet him where he’s at right now.  the first has been a christian for a long time, the second has just started giving church a try.  i tried to have compassion and grace with the first guy, but frustration quickly entered my heart.

i honestly wanted to grab him, look him in the eye, and shake him.  because it’s not about him.

if you’re growing and you’re “advanced”, that’s great! then you know how to keep growing and how to keep feeding yourself. and you know the importance of accountability, and bible study, and prayer.  so do it!  …make it happen.

but along the way don’t forget where you came from. because there’s probably still people back there that you can love on.

 

After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector by the name of Levi sitting at his tax booth. “Follow me,” Jesus said to him, and Levi got up, left everything and followed him.  Then Levi held a great banquet for Jesus at his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were eating with them.  But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect complained to his disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?”  Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”  Luke 5:27-32